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Dublin: 15 °C Friday 14 August, 2020

'Awesome' Hurricanes end Crusaders phenomenal streak

Crusaders suffer first loss at home in 37 games and four years.

Wes Goosen scores a try as the Hurricanes shock the Crusaders.
Wes Goosen scores a try as the Hurricanes shock the Crusaders.
Image: John Davidson/INPHO

A STANDOUT PERFORMANCE by Peter Umaga-Jensen sealed an “awesome” 34-32 victory for the Wellington Hurricanes as they ended the Canterbury Crusaders’ remarkable four-year unbeaten home run in Christchurch Saturday.

Richie Mo’unga had a chance to send the game into overtime with a 78th minute conversion for the Crusaders but his sideline conversion just went wide.

It was the Crusaders’ first loss at home in 37 games since they were also beaten by the Hurricanes in July 2016.

It was also their first loss in New Zealand’s Super Rugby Aotearoa competition while the Hurricanes, who lost their first two matches, are now on a four-match winning streak.

tj-perenara-celebrates-after-the-game Hurricanes' TJ Perenara celebrates after the game. Source: John Davidson/INPHO

Umaga-Jensen, a nephew of former All Blacks great Tana Umaga, set up two first half tries by Wes Goosen for the Hurricanes to turn with a 21-17 advantage and then scored a crucial try himself in the 61st minute to push the Hurricanes to a 31-20 lead.

The Crusaders, renowned for dominating the closing quarter, came back with tries to Quinten Strange and Sevu Reece either side of a Jordie Barrett penalty.

Hurricanes’ skipper TJ Perenara described it as “an awesome game” which kept his side’s title hopes alive.

As part of their psychological preparation for the match, Perenara said the Hurricanes watched video of their stunning 2016 win in Christchurch.

“For us to come down here and get the win is special,” he said.

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“It’s been a long time since anyone’s won down here. We spoke about it early in the week then we made the week about us.”

Before kick-off, Crusaders coach Scott Robertson singled out inside centre Ngani Laumape as the Hurricanes dangerman but it was his outside Umaga-Jensen who caused the most problems as he repeatedly punched his way through the Crusaders.

“They exposed our D (defence) a few times. They wanted it more,” Crusaders captain Codie Taylor said.

“They attacked really well, they went to the middle of the field and  got some of our bigger boys caught in the middle and attacked with their backs.”

The Crusaders, coming off a bye, had problems from the start when they gave away three penalties in the first eight minutes with Jordie Barrett converting the third for the Hurricanes to take the early lead. 

richie-mounga-scores-a-try Richie Mounga scores a try for Crusaders. Source: Martin Hunter/INPHO

The Crusaders quickly levelled with a penalty of their own by Mo’unga who backed up with a converted try only for the lead to be erased soon after when Goosen touched down for the Hurricanes with Barrett adding the extras.

The Crusaders hit the front again with a freakish try to George Bridge when a cut-out pass from Sevu Reece fell at his feet.

Without losing stride, Bridge toed the ball over and then beat a slow turning Barrett to the ball.

But when Goosen scored his second try the Hurricanes hit the front again and never relinquished the lead.

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