Hurricanes beat Cheetahs 60-27 in Super Rugby
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The Hurricanes ended an eight-match losing streak with a dominant 60-27 win over the Cheetahs in Super Rugby on Saturday in a match between two teams near the bottom of their regional conferences.
The Wellington-based Hurricanes and Bloemfontein-based Cheetahs have a history of high-scoring matches, combining for 85 points in the Cheetahs’ 47-38 win the last time they played two years ago. The Hurricanes have also never scored fewer than 35 points against the Cheetahs at home.
Saturday’s match continued that tradition but, at the same time, did little to repair the reputations of two struggling teams. The match was notable less for the 12 tries that were scored than the tackles that were missed by inept defenses.
Flyhalf Beauden Barrett scored two tries, created another and kicked five conversions and a penalty for a total of 23 points as the Hurricanes won for the first time in four matches this year after losing five-straight games at the end of last season.
Also scoring tries for the Hurricanes were hooker Dane Coles, scrumhalf Chris Smylie, fullback James Marshall, lock Jeremy Thrush, winger Alapati Leiua, replacement Matt Proctor and captain Conrad Smith, playing in his 100th Super Rugby match.
Fullback Willie Le Roux, No. 8 Philip van der Walt and lock Francois Uys scored tries for the Cheetahs, while flyhalf Johan Goosen maintained his perfect kicking record with three conversions and two penalties.
With the win, the Hurricanes leapfrogged the Auckland-based Blues to move out of last place in the New Zealand Conference, though it’s unlikely to quiet calls for the sacking of coach Mark Hammett, who, in four years with the team, has just a 42 percent winning record and has yet to make the playoffs.
Hurricanes 60 (Beauden Barrett 2, Dane Coles, Chris Smylie, James Marshall, Jeremy Thrush, Matt Proctor, Conrad Smith, Alapati Leiua tries; Beauden Barrett 5 conversions, penalty; Marty Banks conversion), Cheetahs 27 (Willie Le Roux, Philip van der Walt, Francois Uys tries; Johan Goosen 3 conversions, 2 penalties). HT: 29-20.