‘Canes triumph in New Plymouth

Date published: June 13 2015

The Hurricanes underlined their dominance in this year's Super Rugby tournament with a 21-13 victory over the Chiefs in New Plymouth on Saturday.

The Chiefs went into this game needing to secure a try-scoring bonus point and win by a 37-point margin to finish in fourth position on the table, and in doing so secure a home match in the Super Rugby Finals Series.

But the result means that they will instead head to Dunedin to face the Highlanders in their play-off clash next weekend, while the Hurricanes, who really struggled in the lineout, have a bye week to rest up and prepare for the semi-finals.

Both sides started nervously but with positive intentions and it was the Chiefs who looked the sharper up front in the early exchanges. 

The home side who scored the first points thanks to an error from Brad Shields in the 15th minute. The Hurricanes flanker took the ball into contact just outside the Chiefs' 22 before offloading out of the back of his hand to Victor Vito, who knocked the ball into the hands of opposition winger Bryce Heem.

The Chiefs speedster intercepted and raced away from three chasers before crossing over for a deserved try which Marty McKenzie converted.

Things went from bad to worse for the visitors when veteran All Blacks wing Cory Jane was forced off the field through injury shortly after that try and McKenzie punished further indiscretions from the Hurricanes at the scrum and the breakdown with two further penalties which gave the Chiefs a 13-0 advantage by the half-hour mark.

The Hurricanes stepped up a gear and were soon on the board through a penalty try. This after Julian Savea was put in the clear by a brilliant offload from Nehe Milner-Skudder close to the Chiefs' tryline. Savea still had work to do but was bundled into touch by a no-arms tackle from Tom Marshall.

After watching the television replays of the incident, referee Chris Pollock awarded the penalty try and sent Marshall to the sin-bin for his indiscretion.

Marshall's brother James added the extras for the the Hurricanes who made full use of their numerical advantage with another try from Conrad Smith shortly afterwards.

Marshall was the architect of this five-pointer when he glided through a gap in the Chiefs defence, after attacking from a lineout on the edge of the Chiefs' 22, and when he was stopped close to the tryline, he managed to get his pass away to Smith who got over for a deserved try. Marshall added the extras which gave the Hurricanes a 14-13 lead at the interval.

The second half started similarly to the opening period with both sides throwing caution to the wind but the Chiefs had to take their chances if they wanted to achieve their goal.

They did so but it backfired spectacularly when a pass from McKenzie to Tom Marshall was intercepted by James Marshall of the Hurricanes who raced away before scoring a converted try under the posts.

Hurricanes debutant Sam McNicol, who came on as Jane's replacement, thought he had made a dream debut when he crossed the whitewash after a strong run midway through the second half, but his efforts was disallowed as he was tackled by Charlie Ngatai in the build-up and got up to continue his run without releasing the ball.

The rest of the half saw bioth sides running the ball from all areas of the field but over-eagerness and handling errors meant no further points was added, as the Hurricanes finished on 14 wins this year to tie the record held by the Stormers and Waratahs.

The scorers:

For Chiefs:
Try: Heem
Con: M McKenzie
Pens: M McKenzie 2
Yellow Card: Marshall

For Hurricanes:
Tries: Smith, Marshall, Penalty Try
Cons: Marshall 3

Chiefs: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 James Lowe, 10 Marty McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Maama Vaipulu, 7 Michael Leitch, 6 Liam Messam (c), 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Quentin MacDonald, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Siate Tokolahi, 18 Jamie Mackintosh, 19 Michael Fitzgerald, 20 Mitchell Crosswell, 21 Augustine Pulu, 22 Andrew Horrell, 23 Damian McKenzie.

Hurricanes: 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Rey Lee-Lo, 11 Julian Savea, 10 James Marshall, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Callum Gibbins, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Mark Abbott, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Reggie Goodes.
Replacements: 16 Brayden Mitchell, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 19 James Broadhurst, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Frae Wilson, 22 Willis Halaholo, 23 Sam McNicol.

Referee: Chris Pollock