Hurricanes blow Cheetahs away

The Cheetahs gifted the Hurricanes an easy victory, failing to capitalise on the majority of both possession and territory, and missing crucial tackles to go down 37-15 on Friday in Wellington.

The Hurricanes claimed a bonus point try in the dying seconds of the game, but otherwise relied on an opening thirty minute blitz where the Cheetahs accorded them three soft tries.

It all looks easy in cold and windy Wellington, 37-15 and a bonus point but the Cheetahs probably had more of the match in terms of possession territory and opportunities. But in the end they were well and truly whacked.

There were two things that produced this Hurricanes victory – tackling and taking opportunities.

Two things produced this Cheetahs defeat – poor tackling and not taking opportunities.

The end was an example of both victory and defeat.

Juan Smith grubbered and was over for a try but was called back because his left hand had knocked the ball on. That produced a scrum close to the Hurricanes line which the Cheetahs, yet again, destroyed but the Hurricanes got the ball and moved it wide to Hosea Gear well inside his 22. He started running with lots of gold support which he did not use as Herkie Kruger missed him and then Phillip Burger missed him and Eddie Fredericks bowed to him as he scored the try that brought the bonus point in the dying moments of the match.

The Cheetahs had 70% of territory in the match, including five-metre line-outs which they mauled and mauled. They mauled other line-outs as well but their first try had nothing to do with their limited muscle.

It came from a scrum. Ronnie Cooke ran slightly across and Burger came through straight on the burst to send Gavin Passens over in the corner.

That was when they took their chances.

Their was a wonderful passage of play when they did not take their chances.

Replacement Herkie Kruger tried to grubber but kicked it straight at Piri Weepu who raced down the field. Running out of speed he gave to Ma’a Nonu who thundered ahead but Burger and Bosman brought him down where the burly centre, not for the first time, lost the ball forward well inside the Cheetahs 22. They picked up and Kruger started a counterattack. Burger raced away and played to Kabamba Floors on his left. The flank made good ground and, tackled, popped the ball to Smith who have to Burger who had a run for the corner. Famed for his eccentric diving to score, he got it wrong, falling short as Luke Andrews came across at him and losing the ball forward. It was a wonderful bit of thrust and counter thrust.

The early part of the game belonged to the Hurricanes and in particular to first-five Piri Weepu who controlled the game and produced point. He opened the scoring with a penalty when Corniel van Zyl was penalised at a tackle and, after Willem de Waal had goaled when Alby Mathewson was off-side at a scrum, Weepu made the first try. The Cheetahs rushed up on defence but the wily Weepu slid a grubber kick in behind them. Desperate Bosman saved but this gave the Hurricanes a five-metre line-out. They went right where Chris Masoe simply ran past De Waal to score at the posts. 10-3 after eight minutes.

The Cheetahs now had a pair of attacking line-outs but threw the second one in skew. They then had a third but the Hurricanes sacked it and then won a turn-over to clear. The Cheetahs mauled again but Masoe produced a great tackle on Smith, and the Hurricanes won another saving turn-over.

Fredericks had an overlap and kicked ahead but Weepu came sweeping round, grabbed the bouncing ball, beat three Cheetahs and set off on a promising counter, guillotined by a forward pass.

The Cheetahs broke down the midfield. Frederick started it, Van Zyl carried it on and De Waal ran free till he wobbled and fell. But he popped a pass to Jannie du Plessis who knocked the high ball on with the line beckoning.

The Cheeta

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