Planet Rugby

Nonu comes to the Hurricanes rescue

01st May 2010 08:21

Share:

Nonu brilliant v Chiefs

Ma'a Nonu: Two tries for the 'Canes

Two tries on top of a glittering display from Ma'a Nonu helped the Hurricanes to a bonus-point 33-27 win over the Chiefs on Saturday, keeping their Super 14 semi-final hopes alive.

Needing all five points, the 'Canes shipped four tries to their visitors in the first half-hour with a variety of errors. It made for an enthralling second half as the home side sought to atone, but it will not make for a pleasant final memory for Colin Cooper's last Super Rugby campaign.

Yet they are nothing if not spirited and tenacious, and rode out some heavy pressure while always seeking a way through and round the Chiefs defence. It looked all but over, then Hosea Gear's break set Nonu away for the third try and Neemia Tialata dived over triumphantly at the death for the crucial fourth.

It will have eradicated the memories of a first half-hour the 'Canes will want to forget but will need to look at ahead of the next two matches against the Reds and Waratahs, in which wins will guarantee a semi-final spot now.

At the end of it they trailed 24-8 and were pretty good value for it. Balls were turned over, easy restarts dropped, kicks missed. It was very very average from a team far too desperate to force an issue.

The match started well enough, with Aaron Cruden knocking over an early penalty, but it was Cruden who took his eye off the ball at the restart, allowing Jackson Willison to scoop up and race away for the opening try.

The home side still had some rhythm though, and after a spell of pressure, Nonu's initial thrust was finished off by Cory Jane, with Cruden missing the conversion to leave the lead at one point.

For the next quarter of an hour, it all went horribly wrong for the home side. Sona Taumalolo drove home from the side of a ruck to make it 12-8. Turnover ball in the Hurricanes 22 went to Tim Nanai-Williams, who skipped through the line to make it 17-8. At the back of a scrum, Rodney So'oialo's attempted flick to Tyson Keats was picked off by Liam Messam. 24-8 with Bruce's second conversion. The home side looked shell-shocked.

But they regrouped and managed a score before the break to restore some belief. Nonu it was, finishing off some good work by Cruden, Keats and himself, cantering under the posts with Cruden converting to make it 24-15 at the break.

Although far more open, the first half hour of the second half yielded no tries, as defences scrambled breathlessly. Instead, penalties from Cruden and Piri Weepu added to the Hurricanes' tally, while Bruce added three to the Chiefs' tally. Both kickers could have had more, especially Bruce, but it seems the anti-kicking virus is not yet out of the Chiefs' systems.

Into the final ten minutes and the Hurricanes were still only a score behind, but needing two more tries for that extra point.

The Chiefs had the pressure on, but then a turnover ball was popped to Hosea Gear, whose pace took him to halfway, where he found the power of Nonu. Nonu, gassed one defender, fended off two more and crashed over the line, with Weepu converting to give his side the lead.

More drama though. Karl Lowe was caught off his feet and Bruce had a chance to give the Chiefs the lead. He hooked it horribly.

The Hurricanes then won their own 22 and raced downfield, with Nonu again prominent in the move. Back the ball came left and Tialata, with the help of Paterson, was driven over for the clinching score.

The Reds visit the Cake Tin next week. We can't wait - this has been the most memorable Super Rugby tournament in years.

Man of the match: You can't look any further than Ma'a Nonu. He was magnificent.

The scorers:

For the Hurricanes:
Tries: Jane, Nonu 2, Tialatas
Cons: Cruden, Weepu
Pens: Cruden 2, Weepu

For the Chiefs:
Tries: Willison, Taumalolo, Nanai-Williams, Messam
Cons: Bruce 2
Pen: Bruce

Hurricanes: 15 Cory Jane, 14 Tamati Ellison, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tyson Keats, 8 Rodney So'oialo, 7 Karl Lowe, 6 Victor Vito, 5 Michael Paterson, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Neemia Tialata, 2 Andrew Hore (capt), 1 John Schwalger.
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Jacob Ellison, 18 Jeremy Thrush, 19 Nick Crosswell, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Willie Ripia, 22 Jason Kawau.

Chiefs: 15 Tim Nanai-Williams, 14 Dwayne Sweeney, 13 Richard Kahui, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 Jason Hona, 10 Callum Bruce, 9 Junior Poluleuligaga, 8 Colin Bourke, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam (capt), 5 Culum Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke, 3 Nathan White, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Sona Taumalolo.
Replacements: 16 Aled de Malmanche/Vern Kamo, 17 Ben Afeaki, 18 Kevin O'Neill, 19 Luke Braid, 20 Brendon Leonard, 21 Trent Renata, 22 Phil Burleigh.

Referee: Keith Brown (New Zealand)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 28
Bath vs Harlequins19:45
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs Wasps15:00
Exeter vs Saracens16:30
Sunday , November 30
London Irish vs Gloucester13:00
London Welsh vs Northampton14:30
Newcastle Falcons vs Sale Sharks15:15
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South Africa14:30
England vs Australia14:30
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 28
Munster vs Ulster19:35
Cardiff Blues vs Treviso19:35
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs Edinburgh15:00
Leinster vs Ospreys17:15
Connacht vs Scarlets19:30
Sunday , November 30
Glasgow Warriors vs Dragons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Toulon vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Oyonnax vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Lyon vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Castres vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Toulouse vs Grenoble20:45
Sunday , November 30
Stade Francais vs Brive18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens 24 - 31 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Georgia 35 - 24 JapanGeorgia vs Japan Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Treviso 24 - 24 LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Report
Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
England 28 - 9 SamoaEngland vs Samoa Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821