Blood in the water as the Sharks circle rejuvenated Hurricanes
DURBAN – The Sharks have made the short trip from Dunedin to the New Zealand capital of Wellington where they lie in wait for a rejuvenated Hurricanes team, who fashioned a brave victory over the Jaguares in Buenos Aires at the weekend.
The last-minute win for the Canes will boost their morale as they counter their jet lag ahead of their third-round match against a Sharks team that is fully acclimatised, having arrived in New Zealand the day after beating the Bulls back in round one.
The Hurricanes had suffered a horrific round-one defeat to the Stormers at Newlands and few expected them to recover to beat the Jaguares, who in their first match had demolished the Lions.
And with 10 minutes to go on Saturday night in Buenos Aires and trailing by 11 points, it seemed the Hurricanes were in for more despair, but they dug deep to nail two late tries to snatch victory at the death, 26-23.
The Cell C Sharks showed too much class on Friday morning when they defeated the Highlanders 42-20 in a pulsating Vodacom Super Rugby clash at Forsyth Barr Stadium to maintain their 100% record this season— The Sharks (@TheSharksZA) February 7, 2020
Full match review: https://t.co/gGv9g7D5ip #OurSharksForever #HIGvSHA pic.twitter.com/Bs8VvkOTFu
The Jaguares scored the only try of the first half, with Marcos Kremer crossing over. But three penalties from Jordie Barrett - including a monster 63m attempt - kept the Hurricanes in the contest, trailing 10-9 at the break.
Two second-half penalties from Dominigo Miotti saw the Jaguares extend their lead, before a try by Augustin Creevy looked to have confirmed victory for his team. The Hurricanes gave themselves hope nine minutes from time when captain TJ Perenara broke and set up an attacking scrum close to the tryline, from which prop Alex Fidow scored.
Finally, a late burst from Ngani Laumape sent replacement scrumhalf Jamie Booth over for the match-winning try. The Sharks will fancy their chances of beating the Hurricanes not just because of their win against the Highlanders last Friday, but also because they have a relatively good record in New Zealand, compared to other South African teams, who mostly have been woeful.
The Sharks are the most successful SA team in New Zealand having now won 22 of 62 games (36%), with 37 defeats and three draws. If they get past the Hurricanes this Saturday, the Sharks have a good chance to go unbeaten on tour given that the two Australian teams they face - the Rebels in Melbourne and Reds in Brisbane - are eminently beatable.