The Hurricanes have created history and kept their title hopes alive, defeating the Crusaders 34-32 in an all-time Super Rugby Aotearoa classic. There was plenty of passion from the opening minute shown by the visitors, with a fast and aggressive line speed showing their intent.
The Hurricanes were dominated in the first half by the Crusaders scrum, but managed to lead at the half-time break courtesy of a Wes Goosen double. Despite the Crusaders bringing the scores to within one soon after the break, the Hurricanes survived a late scare to hold their lead for the entire second half.
Peter Umaga-Jensen’s try with 20 minutes to play was arguably the match’s decisive moment in what was a man-of-the-match display from the outside centre.
Victory meant that the Hurricanes ended the Crusaders’ 36-match winning run at home in Christchurch, while also sending off 50-gamer Ben Lam in the best way possible.
All players had to be near their best for the Canes to have had any chance of winning. Here is how RugbyPass rated their efforts:
1. Fraser Armstrong – 6/10
Didn’t get a chance to make an impact. Subbed off injured in the 16th minute.
2. Asafo Aumua – 8
Showed plenty of potential when he broke onto the New Zealand rugby scene a few years ago, but this might just have been the coming of age for the hooker. The 23-year-old was nearly perfect at the lineout and did plenty of damage with ball-in-hand and around the breakdown. If he can develop some consistency, the sky is the limit.
3. Ben May – 6.5
Had three carries for no metres gained and made three tackles in an otherwise uneventful night. The Crusaders dominated the Hurricanes scrum for most of the match, which made it tough for the experienced prop to impress.
4. James Blackwell – 7.5
Impressed with his work rate once again. Had the second most carries of any Hurricanes forward with seven and made nine tackles. Also put his body on the line around the breakdown, doing what his team needed him to do.
5. Scott Scrafton – 8
Was once again immense, putting his head in some dark places to secure the ball for his side. He also pressured the Crusaders lineout all night in what was another great display.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) July 25, 2020
6. Reed Prinsep – 7
A relatively quiet night as he wasn’t able to make his mark in attack or defence. Did enough around the breakdown, though.
7. Du’Plessis Kirifi – 7.5
Showed once again why he is one of the most exciting up-and-comers in New Zealand rugby. The 23-year-old made 13 tackles and carried well when he got his chance.
8. Ardie Savea – 8
One of the standouts. Was powerful when he carried and had an abundance of energy that allowed him to make an impact in defence and around the breakdown. Was simply destructive every time he got his hands on the ball.
— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) July 25, 2020
9. TJ Perenara – 7.5
Controlled the tempo of the Hurricanes attack well. Stepped up as a leader when his side needed him to, mainly with the boot.
10. Jackson Garden-Bachop – 7
Did what his team needed him to do: nothing too flash, nothing pointless. Showed glimpses of some special pieces of skill, including a kick in behind the Crusaders defensive line that was unfortunately called back.
11. Ben Lam – 7
In his 50th and final match for the Hurricanes, he struggled to get into the match. The ball didn’t really come his way in the first half but he stepped up his physicality in the second, mainly in defence. The winger sent George Bridge flying in the 57th minute with a big hit. Made eleven tackles in a performance largely dictated by his defence.
12. Ngani Laumape – 7.5
Showed everyone once again how dangerous he is with ball in hand, carrying defenders with him every time he ran the ball. His night was cut short due to injury, subbed off in the 53rd minute.
13. Peter Umaga-Jensen – 8.5
A man-of-the-match display. Again stood out with his sharp, brave and direct style of running that proved hard to contain. Ran a brilliant line off a Laumape pass to break through the Crusaders defence before setting up Goosen in the corner for the Hurricanes first try of the match. Was rewarded for an impressive night in attack and defence with a five-pointer of his own, scoring a pivotal try with under 20 minutes to play. He took on three defenders before wrestling his way to the chalk.
— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) July 25, 2020
14. Wes Goosen – 8
Was relatively quiet until Umaga-Jensen set him up for a try in the corner, running in unmarked for his first of the night. Had a lot more work to do to score his second, splitting two defenders to run in from 22 metres out. Topped the Hurricanes charts for metres run with 59. Also did his job in defence.
15. Jordie Barrett – 7.5
Was arguably the reason the visitors won. His kicking display not only kept the Hurricanes in it when they trailed, but his precision from the kicking tee was vital in extending their lead in one of the toughest places to win in the world. It was mixed night for him in the field of play, though, with a lot of aimless kicking that didn’t result in any gain. Still, secured a match-winning turnover inside the final minute.
16. Ricky Riccitelli – 5.5
17. Tevita Mafileo – 7
Came on a lot earlier than what he would have expected, but held his own. Made a team high 16 tackles in a confidence-building display by the 22-year-old.
18. Alex Fidow – 6.5
High work rate, doing enough in both attack and defence.
19. Liam Mitchell – 5.5
20. Devan Flanders – 5.5
21. Jamie Booth – 5.5
22. Vince Aso – 6
Not a bad replacement for Laumape.
23. Chase Tiatia – 5.5
Are you not entertained?!
What a win to take us into the bye week! Thanks for having us @crusadersrugby
— Hurricanes Rugby (@Hurricanesrugby) July 25, 2020
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