Planet Rugby

Hurricanes win try-scoring frenzy

16th April 2011 17:31

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Sias Ebersohn

Ebersohn: Twenty-five points

The Hurricanes snatched a 50-47 victory over the Cheetahs courtesy of a last-minute try in an action-packed encounter in Bloemfontein.

Both sides showed from the outset that they would be looking to attack at every opportunity and it was helter skelter stuff with two tries inside the first ten minutes. Matters got even better (or worse depending on how you look at it) with the Hurricanes picking up their bonus point inside the first 25 minutes.

As a spectacle it certainly didn't lack entertainment, but 'quality defence' is a phrase that certainly was not uttered at the Free State Stadium.

Focusing on the attack, both sides showed the value of running onto the ball at pace, with neither back-line caught static as they shifted the ball around the park.

Sarel Pretorius ran the show for the home side, with the scrum-half the heartbeat of everything the Cheetahs did. It therefore came as no surprise that the livewire was responsible for three of the Cheetahs tries.

The first of Pretorius' tries illustrated the scrum-half's keen eye for the gap, sniping around the fringes of the ruck with great effect. The third was made by good work from Phillip Burger, but if anyone was to profit from an others hard work, it was Pretorius who deserved to.

But for all the Cheetahs attacking prowess, they leaked tries with a regularity that showed why they've won just once this season.

Against a back-line as dangerous as the Hurricanes' mistakes will be capitalised on and the men from Wellington didn't disappoint in this respect.

The back three of Andre Taylor, Alapati Leiua, Hosea Gear all got on the score sheet, cutting through the line on a number of occasions. However, it was Gear's second try that summed up the game best, with the winger bouncing off three defenders as he muscled over the line; the attacking play was great, but the defending was simply abysmal.

The final third of the game saw the teams look to take kickable penalties when they were available, with the running rugby taking its toll on the players and the scoreboard see-sawing in favour of one side then the next.

In a game packed with so many tries it seemed almost incredible that the result would be decided by the last movement of the game; attacking from within their twenty-two in one final throw of the dice, the Hurricanes spread the ball wide, with both forwards and backs showing great hands.

Replacement hooker Dane Coles broke down the right-hand touchline before releasing Jeremy Thrush on his outside with the big lock sprinting home to cross over for the match-winning try and break the hearts of the Bloemfontein faithful.

The scorers:

Cheetahs:
Tries: Pretorius 3, Smit 2
Cons: S Ebershon 5
Pens:S Ebershon 3
Drops: S Ebershon 2

Hurricanes:
Tries: Leiua, Taylor, Gear 2, Lam, Thrush
Cons: Kirkpatrick 3, Bennett
Pens: Kirkpatrick 4

Cheetahs: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Philip Burger, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Barry Geel, 11 Riaan Smit, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Davon Raubenheimer, 7 Ashley Johnson, 6 Kabamba Floors, 5 Wilhelm Steenkamp (c), 4 Francois Uys, 3 WP Nel, 2 Ryno Barnes, 1 Coenie Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Lourens Adriaanse, 18 Martin Muller, 19 Leon Karemaker, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Naas Olivier, 22 Corne Uys.

Hurricanes: 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Jayden Hayward, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Daniel Kirkpatrick, 9 Tyson Keats, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Serge Lilo, 6 Jack Lam, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Michael Bent, 2 Andrew Hore (c), 1 John Schwalger.
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Neemia Tialata, 18 Jason Eaton, 19 Faifili Levave, 20 Chris Eaton, 21 Beauden Barrett, 22 Charlie Ngatai.

Referee: Stuart Dickinson

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