3 May 2015

Hurricanes beat the Crusaders

9:18 am on 3 May 2015

The Hurricanes underlined their Super Rugby title credentials with a hard-fought 29-23 bonus point victory over the Crusaders in the capital.

The Hurricanes scored two tries to two penalties from the Crusaders after the break to ensure they would remain top of the standings, while the seven-times champions now face the prospect of missing out on the playoffs for the first time since 2001.

Hurricane first five Beauden Barrett scores against the Crusaders 2015.

Hurricane first five Beauden Barrett scores against the Crusaders 2015. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Hurricanes first-five Beauden Barrett had an outstanding match but there will be some concern in the All Blacks camp after he left the pitch late in the match with a knee injury.

The Hurricanes didn't think it was too serious.

The three main contenders for the New Zealand number 10 shirt for the World Cup were on the pitch and they all scored tries in the first half an hour.

The Crusaders landed the first blow in the second minute when Colin Slade side-stepped his way through the defence and passed for Dan Carter, playing at inside centre, to touch down under the posts.

Barrett's riposte came seven minutes later when a Slade pass hit a defender, the Hurricanes number 10 scooping up the loose ball and showing his pace by sprinting more than 80 metres to score.

Hurricanes prop Reggie Goodes celebrates after scoring against the Crusaders 2015.

Hurricanes prop Reggie Goodes celebrates after scoring against the Crusaders 2015. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Three minutes later and the home side were in front after superb handling on the right wing allowed number eight Brad Shields to trundle across the line.

Slade missed two of his first three penalty attempts but made amends when, with Hurricanes centre Ma'a Nonu in the sin bin, a show-and-go saw him break the line again and spin over the line in the tackle.

Barrett kicked his first penalty on the stroke of halftime to level up the scores at 17-17 but Slade put the visitors back in front with his second six minutes after the break.

The Hurricanes stormed back with wave after wave of attacks, however, and the Crusaders defence cracked in the 55th minute when prop Reggie Goodes forced his way over.

Slade narrowed the deficit from the kicking tee but another Barrett counter-attack from his own half set up the try of the game, the ball passing through five pairs of hands for lock Blade Thomson to finish in the corner.

That put the Hurricanes six points ahead with 19 minutes remaining and it proved enough, although there were some nervous moments after the hooter as the Crusaders hammered away before a knock-on ended the match.

This morning the Cheetahs beat the Stormers 25-17 in Bloemfontein before the Bulls edged the Lions 35-33 in Pretoria to climb to the top of the South African conference.

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