28 May 2011

Cruden stars in Hurricanes last gasp win

11:57 am on 28 May 2011

Fullback Cory Jane scored a 75th-minute try to help the Hurricanes complete a scintillating 34-28 victory over a stubborn Western Force in their Super rugby match in Palmerston North on Friday night.

Jane's try came after first five Aaron Cruden had opened up the Force defence for the second time in five minutes by attacking the line.

He also set up James Broadhurst's 72nd minute try.

Manawatu local Cruden was also perfect with his goalkicking, slotting four conversions and two penalties for the Hurricanes.

The Force had established an 18-10 lead by half-time courtesy of tries from inside centre Rory Sidey and fullback Cameron Shepherd as the visitors exploited weak defending around the fringes of the breakdown and a massive territorial advantage.

Hurricanes second five Ma'a Nonu had scored the game's first try from a well worked backline movement, while Cruden slotted the conversion and a penalty for the home side, who had opportunities to score but were guilty of forcing the ball rather than trying to build pressure.

Nonu grabbed his second try shortly after the break when he took the ball off centre Conrad Smith, who was returning after six weeks out with a badly broken nose, and crashed over.

The Hurricanes are in last place in the New Zealand conference on 34 points while the Force received a bonus point and moved to 28 points, third in the Australian conference but 17 points behind the New South Wales Waratahs and 26 adrift of the table-topping Queensland Reds.