Hurricanes rally to down Kings in Super 15
WELLINGTON (AFP) –
The Wellington Hurricanes scored six tries as they notched up their third consecutive win with a 46-30 victory over the Southern Kings in the Super 15.
The Hurricanes led 29-16 at half-time and after going off the boil immediately following the resumption they rallied in the final quarter to run in a further 17 points to secure the victory.
It ended a dismal fortnight in New Zealand for the Kings who were whipped 55-20 by the Canterbury Crusaders last week and now head to Australia to face the series leaders ACT Brumbies next week.
The lopsided scoreline reflected a late Hurricanes revival ignited by a Brad Shields try after the Kings had been just six points off the pace with 15 minutes to play.
The Hurricanes found at the very start they had the measure of the Kings pack and when they moved the ball wide, and at pace, there were cracks in the South African defence.
They had their opening points on the board in the second minute when All Blacks wing Julian Savea forged a hole in the Kings backline, and off-loaded to Ben May for the prop to lumber 20 metres to the line.
Beauden Barrett landed the first of five conversions in a good outing for the fly-half, who also kicked two penalties and was instrumental in guiding the Hurricanes attack.
Conrad Smith, TJ Perenara and Jeremy Thrush followed May to the tryline for the Hurricanes to have their bonus point by half-time, with the Kings relying on a converted try to Steven Sykes and three penalties by Demetri Catrakilis.
But the flair of the first half evaporated after the resumption, with both sides guilty of misdirected passes and seemingly aimless attack.
The Kings snapped the lethargy when George Whitehead burst into the line to take a long cutout pass from Catrakilis and send Ronnie Cooke over.
At 29-23 the Kings sensed the chance of an upset, but it was quickly taken from them when rising side-rower Shields found his way over the line and Alapati Leiua followed with a long-range intercept try.
Although out of the game the Kings never gave up and scored their third try from replacement hooker Hannes Franklin in the final minute.