Hurricanes beat Chiefs 25-13 in Super Rugby
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The Wellington-based Hurricanes scored two tries in the first five minutes of the second half to clinch a 25-13 win over the Hamilton-based Chiefs on Friday and their sixth straight win in Super Rugby.
Winger Ben Lam scored his ninth try in seven matches to give the Hurricanes a 10-6 lead at halftime and center Ngani Laumape and flyhalf Beauden Barrett scored at the start of the second half to lift their team to a winning lead.
The Chiefs hit back with a try to flanker Lachlan Boshier midway through the second half but the Hurricanes retained sufficient control to close out their sixth win from seven games.
Lam’s try in the seventh minute was spectacular, showing all of the big wing’s skill and power, and the Hurricanes looked to be in dominating form. But a long break in the 17th minute for an injury to Chiefs prop Aidan Ross, who appeared to have sustained a fractured ankle, interrupted the Hurricanes’ momentum.
They managed to regain their advantage at the start of the second half but again dropped away and spent much of the second half defending against uncoordinated waves of Chiefs attacks.
“I was really pleased with our scramble tonight,” Hurricanes captain Brad Shields said. “It was a pretty rough performance but I was happy to come away with the win.”
Lam’s try showed the full extent of the Hurricanes’ attacking threat. They first moved the ball to the right side of the field from a lineout, then brought it back to the left. A short pass from prop Jeff Tuamaga-Allen put Laumape into a gap in midfield and his pass found Lam who brushed off two tacklers to score.
The Chiefs shortened the lead with two Damian McKenzie penalties but the Hurricanes hit the ground running at the start of the second half and put the game in safe-keeping.
Barrett picked up a loose ball and scored in the tackle of lock Brodie Retallick for a contentious try. Laumape then took Barrett’s cross-kick over the head of Chiefs center Anton Lienert-Brown and touched down to make the lead 22-6.
Boshier was the last man to handle in a move in which wingers Solomon Alaimano and Sean Wainui, flyhalf McKenzie and fullback Charlie Ngatai were prominent to cut into the Hurricanes’ lead.
But the Chiefs weren’t able to threaten consistently and the Hurricanes clinched a win which took them temporarily to the top of the New Zealand conference.
“Credit to the Hurricanes ... they took opportunities and created plenty of them,” Chiefs captain Sam Cane said. “We created our fair share, too, but the Hurricanes scramble was too good for us tonight.”