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- 6th Apr 2012
- KO 08:35
- Ground: Westpac Trust Stadium
Sharks blown away by Hurricanes
Six-try Wellington return to winning ways
The Wellington Hurricanes bounced back from last week's remarkable collapse to the Cheetahs by scoring six tries in a 42-18 win over the Sharks in Super 15 rugby.
The Hurricanes had only 37 per cent of possession in the first half and spent 56 per cent of the spell pressed inside their own half, but broke out with three tries to take a dominant 25-3 half-time lead.
They then snuffed out rallies sparked by two second-half tries from the Sharks, adding three more of their own to add a bonus-point to their fourth win from seven matches this season, while the Durban-based Sharks have now lost four times.
Full-back Andre Taylor set the ball rolling with the Hurricanes' first try against the run of play in the 13th minute. The Sharks had won 82 per cent of possession until that point and attacked relentlessly, but Taylor epitomised the Hurricanes' ability to turn tiny fragments of possession into points.
The first half followed that pattern. The Sharks attacked for long periods, feeding that attack with an overwhelming supply of possession from set pieces and breakdowns. But they simply could not exploit those advantages and, despite long periods of phase play, found no way through the Wellington defence.
The Hurricanes would then swoop on a rare possession from a turnover or penalty and almost effortlessly construct a try, steadily building their lead and causing the Sharks a deepening sense of frustration.
Taylor created the first try, his fifth of the season, when, after an exploratory run by Conrad Smith, he sawed between two Sharks tight forwards and changed direction while accelerating to confound the remainder of the defence.
The Sharks closed to 7-3 with a penalty from former France fly-half Frederic Michalak, who was guilty in the first half of squandering two of the Sharks' best attacking chances by going alone when he had support out wide.
The Hurricanes scored a second try against the run of play in the 19th when man-of-the-match flanker Karl Lowe was driven across the goalline from close range. Giant winger Julian Savea added his first try of the season to move the Hurricanes' 25-3 ahead at half-time.
The Sharks scored 10 points in the first four minutes of the second half after turning to take the wind. Michalak kicked a penalty then added the conversion of a try by JP Pietersen as the Durban-based team threatened to sweep back into contention at 25-13.
But the Hurricanes stifled the rally with a 48th-minute try from Smith following a deft grubber kick by 19-year-old scrum-half TJ Perenara. Centre Tim Batemen brilliantly reclaimed his own kick in an aerial contest with Sharks full-back Riaan Viljoen to give the Hurricanes a 35-13 lead after 55 minutes.
The Sharks managed a late try from hooker Craig Burden, their best player, but the Hurricanes had the last say, scoring through replacement lock Jeremy Thursh just before the final whistle.Super 15. Click here to bet.