Rugby Union


Butch James goes from hero to villian as Canes steal last-minute win

JOHANNESBURG: Fly-half Beauden Barrett kicked his fifth penalty a minute from time to give the Hurricanes a thrilling 30-28 Super 15 victory over the Lions at Ellis Park on Friday.


The lead changed hands eight times in thisĀ  match before the visitors atoned for the heaviest loss of the first round last weekend, when they had finished 13 points behind the Stormers in Cape Town.

Defeat dashed Lions' hopes of becoming the first team this season to win two in a row, after they edged the the Cheetahs by two points in Johannesburg last weekend.

Many visiting teams fade in the closing stages on the Highveld as the 1800 metres altitude leaves them gasping for breath, but the men from Wellington demonstrated their fitness with a high-tempo game throughout.

Hurricanes turned around 14-8 up and two tries within three mintues from hooker Dane Coles and All Blacks wing Cory Jane around the hour mark ultimately proved crucial.


A blow for the Lions was the early loss of prop JC Janse van Rensburg and replacement CJ van der Linde through injuries, which resulted in uncontested scrums and nullified the early advantage the home team had in that area.

"It was too tight for my liking," confessed Hurricanes centre and skipper Conrad Smith. "I thought we had the points in the bag after scoring those two tries in quick succession.

"But the Lions never gave up and I am proud to captain the team that defeated them. Next up for us is the Western Force in Perth and they are another team who will put their hearts on the line."

Lions flank and skipper Josh Strauss was angry: "We let ourselves down through silly mistakes. We played well when we had the ball, but gave it away too often. We must come in on Monday, learn from our mistakes and get better."

Barrett kicked five penalties to raise his season tally to 36 points -- one less than leading scorer Elton Jantjies, who had to be satisfied with 10 against the Hurricanes after a record Super 15 haul of 27 points last weekend.

Full-back Andre Taylor dived over in the corner for a superb first-half try, Coles touched down after brilliant football skills from Smith and Jane punished sloppy defending to get the other.

Full-back Jaco Taute, lock Franco van der Merwe and replacement back Butch James scored a try each for the Lions, Jantjies kicked two conversions and two penalties, and Taute landed a long-range penalty.

HURRICANES 30 (Andre Taylor, Dane Coles, Cory Jane tries; Beauden Barrett 5 pens) def LIONS 28 (Jaco Taute, Franco van der Merwe, Butch James tries; Elton Jantjies 2 con, 2 pens, Taute pen). Referee: Steve Walsh (NZL)