Planet Rugby

Nonu double wins it for 'Canes

27th May 2011 08:03

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Ma a Nonu for Hurricanes against Western Force

Double strike: Ma'a Nonu

The Hurricanes clawed their way back to beat a determined Western Force outfit 34-28 in Palmerston North on Friday.

Down by eight points at half-time (10-18), the hosts were on their way to another Super Rugby defeat.

However, three second-half tries to Ma'a Nonu, James Broadhurst and Cory Jane - a 75th minute match-winner - coupled by a flawless kicking performance from Aaron Cruden, denied the Force victory.

The result leaves the Force with just three wins from thirteen games.

Nonu's two tries for the Hurricanes were his first in a season which has also troubled by injuries, as the rebuilds his All Blacks midfield pairing with Conrad Smith

The Force led for much of the match and were 28-20 ahead with 15 minutes remaining thanks to the outstanding performances from former Wallabies playmaker Cameron Shepherd, scrum-half Mark Swanepoel and fly-half Janes Stannard.

Shepherd scored a try among 18 points in his first match back after injury.

Stannard set up tries for center Rory Sidey, backrower Ben McCalman and Shepherd while Swanepoel superbly guided the Force attack.

The Force's defense was also solid but the Hurricanes were finally able to breach it in the late stages of the second half when former fly-half Aaron Cruden attacked the line, then found gaps for supporting players. Cruden scored 14 points from four conversions and two penalties.

"This match was an accumulation of all the stuff in the past and finally we've ended up on the right side of the ledger," said Hurricanes stand-in captain Victor Vito.

"We gave them too many opportunities and they scored off them as well so we had to go away and talk about it at halftime and come back again."

The Force built an 18-10 lead by half-time with tries by Sidey and Shepherd. Though the Hurricanes cut into the lead with Nonu's second try nine minutes into the second half, a try to Ben McCalman gave the visitors a 25-17 lead midway through the second half.

The Force were still ahead 25-20 with 15 minutes remaining but lock Broadhurst and full-back Jane turned the match with late tries.

"It was very disappointing. I'd like to say Mark Swanepoel and James Stannard were outstanding tonight and the boys came out and did a fantastic job," said Force captain Nathan Sharpe.

"For 77 minutes we did really well but in the last three we let them in. Things went well for us tonight but when they got down the other end of the field they scored points and that's the story of the match."

The scorers:

For Hurricanes:
Tries: Nonu 2, Broadhurst, Jane
Cons: Cruden 4
Pens: Cruden 2

For Force:
Tries: Sidey, Shepherd, McCalman
Cons: Shepherd 2
Pens: Shepherd 3

Hurricanes: 15 Cory Jane, 14 Andre Taylor, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Chris Eaton, 8 Victor Vito (c), 7 Jack Lam, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Neemia Tialata, 2 Dane Coles, 1 John Schwalger.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Jacob Ellison, 18 Bryn Evans, 19 Mark Reddish, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Jayden Hayward, 22 Julian Savea.

Western Force: 15 Cameron Shepherd, 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Patrick Dellit, 12 Rory Sidey, 11 David Smith, 10 James Stannard, 9 Mark Swanepoel, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 David Pocock, 6 Matt Hodgson, 5 Nathan Sharpe (c), 4 Sam Wykes, 3 Tim Fairbrother, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Kieran Longbottom.
Replacements: 16 Ben Whittaker, 17 Matt Dunning, 18 Tom Hockings, 19 Richard Brown, 20 Chris Cottee, 21 Mitch Inman, 22 Alfie Mafi.

Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)

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