Hurricanes get narrow win against Chiefs
Jodie Barrett kicked an 84th minute penalty to earn the Hurricanes a narrow 24-27 win over the Chiefs in their Super Rugby clash on Friday.
Barrett's penalty was the final act of the match after Pita Gus Sowakula was blown up for a late tackle on Alex Fidow.
As expected, this was an entertaining affair with both sides staying true to their attacking roots and the lead changed hands on several occasions. In the end, both teams scored three tries apiece with Ben Lam, Fletcher Smith and Asafo Aumua crossing the whitewash for the Hurricanes and Barrett finished with a 12-point haul courtesy of three conversions and a penalty.
For the Chiefs, Lachlan Boshier, Tumua Manu and Shaun Stevenson scored tries while Damian McKenzie added three conversions and a penalty.
The Hurricanes did most of the early attacking and drew first blood in the ninth minute when Lam gathered a long pass from Barrett before crossing for a deserved try.
The Chiefs responded with a penalty from McKenzie in the 16th minute after Du’Plessis Kirifi infringed at a ruck. Midway through the half, the home side took the lead for the first time when Lachlan Boshier scored their first try after barging over from close quarters.
McKenzie added the extras which meant the Chiefs were leading 10-7 but the visitors regained the lead on the half-hour mark when Smith glided past Aidan Ross, deep inside the Chiefs’ 22, before crossing for his side’s third try.
The next 10 minutes was a frantic affair as both sides continued to run the ball from all areas of the field but neither side scored further points which meant the match was evenly poised with the Hurricanes leading 14-10 at half-time.
The second half started in spectacular fashion when Barrett booted a ball upfield, deep inside Chiefs territory, before being involved in a foot race with McKenzie as they tried to regain possession.
Barrett regathered in front of the try-line and sailed over the whitewash but television replays revealed McKenzie also managed to get his hands onto the ball and the TMO ruled that it was inconclusive whether a try was scored.
In the 54th minute, the Chiefs regained the lead when Manu found himself in space deep inside Hurricanes territory and he did well to shrug off challenges from Barrett and TJ Perenara before scoring under the posts.
Shortly afterwards, Perenara was yellow carded for an illegal hit on Solomon Alaimolo and the Chiefs responded with Stevenson’s try in the 58th minute.
That gave the hosts a 24-14 lead but the Hurricanes reduced the deficit when Barrett landed a penalty five minutes later.
The visitors upped the ante on attack in the game’s closing stages and were rewarded when Asafo Aumua dotted down off the back of a lineout drive deep inside the Chiefs’ 22 with 10 minutes left on the clock.
Barrett’s successful conversion meant the sides were deadlocked at 24-24 and he also held his nerve when he slotted the match-winning place kick in the game’s dying moments.
Chiefs - Tires: Boshier, Manu, Stevenson. Conversions: McKenzie (3) Penalties: McKenzie
Hurricanes - Tries: Lam, Smith, Aumua. Conversions: Barrett (3) Penalties: Barrett (2) Yellow Card: Perenara