Sketchy late Beauden Barrett try gives 'Canes narrow win over Stormers
The Hurricanes edged the Stormers 34-28 in a thriller at the Wespac Stadium in Wellington on Saturday thanks to a controversial late try by Beauden Barrett.
The All Black flyhalf appeared to crawl his way over the line for the game’s final and ultimately decisive try that he converted himself.
The result saw the Stormers slump to their 11th consecutive loss in New Zealand and their ninth successive defeat outside of South Africa. But it was a gallant performance tinged with some bad luck for the visitors.
In all though‚ the Hurricanes scored five tries to the Stormers’ three while the home team overturned a 21-15 halftime deficit. The lead swapped five times in the match.
Beauden Barrett contributed 14 points from a try‚ three conversions and a penalty while Stormers wing SP Marais scored 13 points from three penalties and two conversions.
The Stormers came with a clear plan to play a territorial-based game and use their pack to put the Hurricanes under pressure. It paid dividends although it was not enough to ultimately seal victory.
The Stormers’ rolling maul was their most effective weapon and all three tries they scored– via captain Siya Kolisi‚ hooker Bongi Mbonambi and flank Jaco Coetzee – started from lineout mauls.
Conversely the Hurricanes tried to open the game and keep it as fractured as possible so their dangerous backs could profit. Their X-factor was just too much for the Stormers.
Inside centre Jordie Barrett‚ wing Wes Goosen (two tries) and Beauden Barrett added to prop Ben May’s early try while giant wing Ben Lam was a constant carrying threat.
The visitors took an early 6-0 lead from Marais’s boot after earning early penalties thanks to their pressure game.
But the Hurricanes capitalised on a Stormers lineout error close to their line and built pressure through seven phases before May crashed over for their first try of the day‚ which Beauden Barrett converted.
The Hurricanes looked to have total control of the match when Jordie Barrett pounced on a clever grubber from scrumhalf Richard Judd to score on 22 minutes. That came after the Stormers were reduced to 14 men when flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis was sin-binned for killing the ball.
But the Stormers managed the time well and responded with their best spell of the game.
They slowed the pace and the forwards took control. Kolisi crashed over on the half-hour to bring them within two points of the lead.
Marais landed his third penalty in the 38th minute to give the Stormers the lead and into injury time at the end of the half‚ Mbonambi barged his way to the line after another rolling maul. The Hurricanes were down to 14 men with Vaia Fifita in the bin for collapsing a maul.
Goosen’s two tries‚ which required slick finishing and two lethal final passes‚ were scored either side of Coetzee try‚ as the lead seesawed.
But inevitably it was Beauden Barrett‚ and New Zealand referee Glen Jackson’s leniency‚ that gave the Hurricanes a slightly fortunate win.
Hurricanes – Tries: Ben May‚ Jordie Barrett‚ Wes Goosen (2)‚ Beauden Barrett. Conversions: Beauden Barrett (3). Penalties: Beauden Barrett.
Stormers – Tries: Siya Kolisi‚ Bongi Mbonambi‚ Jaco Coetzee. Conversions: SP Marais (2). Penalties: Marais: (3).