The Hurricanes travelled north to take on the Chiefs at FMG Stadium Waikato as round four of Super Rugby Aotearoa continued on Sunday. With both sides at the bottom end of the ladder, the winless Hurricanes were desperate to get some points on the board to give their season some credibility.
In recent times, these two proud franchises have produced some thrilling encounters and this afternoon promised to be another. Many of the Hurricanes players played with their respective clubs last weekend when they had the bye and perhaps the reconnection to the grassroots of the game was the antidote the Hurricanes coaching staff were looking for?
The visitors turned up and their defence won them the game 25-18 despite being a man down at the business end of the match. It was a tough, physical encounter and the Chiefs brought power through the middle but the Hurricanes would not die and deserved their victory.
So how did the Hurricanes rate today?
15. Jordie Barrett – 7.5
He didn’t take long to settle into the game and looked to create opportunities and not to play within himself. Committed a cardinal sin when giving away a breakdown penalty when his side were deep on attack but sough absolution by defending well and persistently looking to attack. A solid return.
14. Kobus van Wyk – 7.5
Scored a try that anyone could in the opening minutes but really enjoyed his efforts in attack. Despite having a bit of a shocker against the Crusaders, Van Wyk ran some intelligent attacking lines and went looking for work. Backed it up with solid chasing but positioned himself out of an attacking opportunity when cutting in off an Ardie Savea blindside run when there was ample space on the outside. Grabbed a second try in the second half and generally had a good afternoon.
13. Peter Umaga-Jensen – 7.5
Put in a very good shift without. Hard with the ball, hard off it. Dropped off the odd tackle but looks like he’ll maintain the 13 jersey with this performance after making a try saving tackle on his line. Impressed.
12. Ngani Laumape – 7
Worked well off the ball allowing for space to be created as he draws so much defence upon himself. Still had several good touches and backed up well. Didn’t let his side down in defence.
11. Ben Lam – 6.5
A fair shift with limited opportunity. Made a turnover in the first half and came in to work in defence. For every positive impact he tends to provide a negative. Would like him to be more consistent moving forward.
10. Jackson Garden-Bachop – 6.5
A decent shift but at times chose the lesser option evidenced by kicking when he had Van Wyk in open space on a counter attack. By no means a poor performance but would have liked him to back his own running game more.
9. TJ Perenara – 7.5
Another intelligent performance, if anything his box kicking let him down a bit this afternoon. That aside, he rallied his troops well and generally directed the side to where it needed to be. Didn’t really feature in running the ball but made a number of vital tackles including a try saver with Umaga-Jensen on the line.
8. Ardie Savea – 8
It was always going to be won upfront and Savea took it to the Chiefs in every aspect of the match. Was ferocious in defence and in possession worked in tight for metres, but also linked prodigiously out wide. Starting to come back into some dominant form. Building each week.
7. Du’Plessis Kirifi – 8
Like Savea, he was on today. Despite infringing out the breakdown, he balanced it up with turnovers, a try saving tackle on the Canes’ line and wanted to impose himself in everything he did. Gave Sam Cane a real battle and one of his better performances in a Hurricanes jersey.
6. Reed Prinsep – 8.5
My man-of-the-match. He was simply epic in defence making 21 tackles and stopped the Chiefs’ momentum time and time again. Defence wins matches and this win was built on the shoulders of his efforts today. A definitive performance.
5. Scott Scrafton – 6.5
Was sent off for two yellow cards yet I thought the first yellow was a bit harsh as it appeared he was looking to play the ball, not the man in the lineout. He worked hard and had some good involvements and ran the Canes’ lineout well. Made the cardinal sin of turning his back on the attack which no doubt contributed to his second yellow and playing offside. Will be better for this.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) July 5, 2020
4. James Blackwell – 8
Another typical Blackwell performance. Hard work and more hard work. There was nothing exceptional about his performance apart from his ability to do the hard work. 15 tackles to his credit and supported Prinsep in that wall.
3. Tyrel Lomax – 7
Went about his business quietly but as always did his job and looked to impose himself in tight.
2. Dane Coles – 8
A typical Dane Coles performance and sent Codie Taylor a message that he still has plenty of game about him. Doesn’t appear to have lost any speed and grabbed an intercept down the left edge to turn the momentum of a Chiefs attack that several phases later lead to a Hurricanes try.
1. Fraser Armstrong – 7
Only lasted 21 minutes after injuring an ankle early in the match, but within that time scrummaged well, worked hard coming off the line in defence and made a number of raids into the defensive line of the Chiefs in attack. The type of player you want to play with, not against as he’ll give you nothing but come at you all day.
16. Ricky Riccitelli – 5.5
On in the 68th minute. Did his job.
17. Ben May – 7
On in the 21st minute and struggled in the first few scrums but hung in there and made a big contribution in general play, even securing a turnover. A credible performance full of character.
18. Alex Fidow – 6
On in the 70th minute and made a near half field dash for the line but was felled meters out.
19. Vaea Fifita – 6
On in the 56th minute. Had some positive involvements without providing potent impact.
20. Liam Mitchell – 5.5
On in the 70th minute. Did his job.
21. Jamie Booth – 6.5
Came on for a blood bin and later for Garden-Bachop. Had a sweeping run for the line working off Savea off a scrum move. Like this player, has a big future.
22. Billy Proctor – 6
On the 70th minute. Did his job.
23. Wes Goosen – 6.5
On in the 66th minute. Looked to work with limited opportunity.
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