Replacement hooker Motu Matu'u, captain Conrad Smith and scrumhalf Chris Eaton scored second-half tries as the Wellington Hurricanes beat the New South Wales Waratahs 33-12 in their Super Rugby match in Sydney on Saturday.
The win kept alive the Hurricanes' slim playoff chances as they moved to 45 points, though several sides above them are still to play later on Saturday.
“”It's the first time we have had a win here and I'm stoked with that,” Smith said in a pitchside interview. “We've got a couple more games to go but who knows?
“We're enjoying playing together and have defied a lot of the critics who wrote us off at the start of the year, so we're loving it.”
The Waratahs dominated possession and territory, particularly in the second half with their pack finally giving them momentum, and dominating the set piece, but could not crack the Hurricanes defence and made numerous handling errors.
Matu'u's try came after another Waratahs' turnover while on attack and pressure from a kick chase gave the Hurricanes some rare field position in the second half.
Smith scored with just over 10 minutes remaining to silence the modest crowd.
Eaton grabbed the bonus point try right on fulltime after the visitors got a penalty at halfway and kicked into the corner to set up an attacking lineout, from which the replacement scrumhalf was able to burst over.
Julian Savea's try was the highlight of an error-strewn first half, in which wet conditions denied the crowd any chance of witnessing a display of free-flowing rugby.
Waratahs flyhalf Berrick Barnes slotted three first-half penalties for the home side. Hurricanes flyhalf Beauden Barrett converted Savea's try and slotted two penalties to give the visitors a 13-9 lead at the break.
Barnes added an early second-half penalty for the Waratahs, but the home side squandered far too many opportunities, with audible sighs of exasperation from the crowd evident towards the end of the game.
“We're very disappointed with the way we played ...we can't be leaking 33 points,” Waratahs captain Benn Robinson said.
“They're a good attacking side, they put 60 points on last week (against the Rebels) and defending they're a top outfit.” – Reuters