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Watch: Hurricanes miraculous 'Hail Mary' passage of play to beat the Crusaders past 80 minutes

By Sam Smith
(Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

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The Hurricanes have squeezed a 27-24 victory over a Crusaders team laden with returning All Blacks after a stunning last passage of play in the final pre-season hit out in Queenstown.

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The heartbreaking loss was the second in as many weeks for Scott Robertson’s side after being pipped 20-19 by the Highlanders a week earlier.

With Joe Moody, Scott Barrett, George Bridge and Braydon Ennor returning to the starting line-up for the first forty, the Crusaders looked to be in control after building a 12-5 halftime lead.

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The Hurricanes had none of their current All Blacks available due to managed off-season rest, but when the Crusaders fielded their second half XV, the match begun to swing in the Hurricanes favour in the final quarter.

The Hurricanes put together four second half tries to run down the Crusaders. Julian Savea managed to close the gap to two points with the opening try in the second half when he broke down the right touchline and scored outstretched in the tackle of Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi.

The Crusaders responded through speedster Macca Springer who finished off a try that came from a scrum inside the Crusaders own 22.

Another scrum play provided the next one when new halfback Tahuriorangi played Isaiah Punivai underneath on a switch pass that saw the centre glide through to extend the Crusaders lead to 24-10.

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A major turning point came in the 66th minute when it looked like the Crusaders would score from a line break if not for a last ditch tackle and strip on the five metre line.

From the loose ball, the Hurricanes spread the ball through the hands on their own goal line to break away 80-metres. Julian Savea, playing at second five, was involved twice to make the initial break and again to keep play going. On the next phase they scored through Bailyn Sullivan to close the gap to 24-15.

Alex Fidow barged over from close range with less than two minutes remaining to bring the Hurricanes within touching distance at 24-22 to set up a tense finish.

What seemed like the final play of the game in the 82nd minute was not so, when the officials allowed a quick lineout after the Crusaders had booted the ball into touch. From there, the Hurricanes put together a miraculous 90-metre charge before rookie first five Aidan Morgan scored the match-winner.

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The Crusaders will get the chance to avenge the loss in next week’s opening round of Super Rugby Pacific when competition points are on offer.

Watch the last passage of play below:

 

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