Cheetahs run Hurricanes ragged
HURRICANES 38 CHEETAHS 47
Breaking free ... Cheetahs fullback Hennie Daniller skips past a tackle by Beauden Barrett. Photo: Getty Images
The Hurricanes paid the price for poor defending as they were upset 47-38 by the Cheetahs at the Cake Tin in Wellington.
This match, played in front of 11,783 spectators, always had the potential to be a tricky one for the Hurricanes, it was the first time they'd been the favourites for a match all season and they got themselves involved in a tit-for-tat, points-scoring battle against the Bloemfontein-based side and it was one they eventually lost.
Heinrich Brussow of the Cheetahs is hit in a late tackle by TJ Perenara. Photo: Getty Images
The Cheetahs may not be the best South African team but they certainly are the most entertaining.
Their coach, Naka Drotske gives his players licence to attack and while this attitude may not always result in winning rugby, it does make the Cheetahs a joy to watch.
This was unlike any Hurricanes performance this year and although they were able to match the Cheetahs in the scoring department for most of the game, they were living off scraps rather than dominating the possession and territory stakes like the Cheetahs.
Ryno Benjamin of the Cheetahs dives over for a try. Photo: Getty Images
Beauden Barrett again stepped up and had a sensational game but the injuries to Jason Eaton and Victor Vito in the past couple of days reduced the Hurricanes' ability to take the game to Cheetahs' forwards
Hurricanes hooker Dane Coles burst through the Cheetahs line in the second minute to score a try and set the tone for the match.
South Africa's new goal-kicking sensation, Johan Goosen nailed a long range penalty shortly after.
But the Hurricanes' own young exciting No 10 was able to land a long range penalty of his own in the sixth minute.
The early scoring continued with Cheetahs second-five Andries Strauss managing to touch the ball down in the right corner after the forwards had done all the hard work on the other flank.
In the 15th minute the Hurricanes went 95m in an attack that started with Coles ripping the ball out of the hands of a Cheetahs player and finished with a run from the halfway line from Barrett.
Following further penalties for Barrett and Goosen the Hurricanes struck on the counter attack again with Faifili Lavave breaking down the right wing and his nice outside pass to Andre Taylor all but sealed the try.
The bonus point try was picked up a couple of minutes later with TJ Perenara capitalising on a long run from Julian Savea.
Hennie Daniller, Ryno Benjamin and Coenie Oosthuizen all scored tries for the visitors in the last five minutes of the half while Goosen's three conversions locked the game up at 32-32 at the break.
The Cheetahs went in the front for the first time when Goosen goaled a penalty six minutes into the second half, but it was a short-lived advantage as Barrett answered straight back with three points from his boot.
However, WP Nel's try in the 55th minute put the Cheetahs in front by five and although Barrett kicked another penalty Oosthuizen's try extended the Cheetahs' lead.
All of the early points scoring took its toll on the players over the last 20 minutes and the match petered out as a contest, with exhausted players unable to muster much in the way of game breaking moments.
So unlike last week there was no last gasp moment of joy for the Hurricanes and they remain winless at the Cake Tin.
CHEETAHS 47 (Coenraad Oosthuizen 2, Rayno Benjamin, Hennie Daniller, WP Nel, Andries Strauss tries Johan Goosen 4 cons 3 pens) bt HURRICANES 38 (Beauden Barrett, Dane Coles, TJ Perenara, Andre Taylor tries Barrett 3 cons 4 pens) at Westpac Stadium. Referee: Ian Smith.