Hurricanes snatch victory from jaws of defeat

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Friday, April 6, 2018    Andy Burt    Getty Images

Normally known for their exuberant attacking play, it was pure muscle, grit and determination that won out for the Hurricanes in the dying stages of the game.

Trailing 28-37 with just two minutes left on the clock, the Hurricanes opted for a penalty to secure a bonus point before embarking on an incredible five minute passage to deny the Sharks an elusive second straight win in New Zealand.


The Hurricanes hadn’t scored a try in the second half but made their way deep into Sharks territory when replacement halfback Jamie Booth caught the defence napping with a quick tap.

The Sharks were so desperate to hold onto victory that they conceded a number of penalties and a yellow card in a frantic four minutes of extra-time as the Hurricanes banged away on the try line.

Eventually the Sharks water tight defence gave in as Ngani Laumape found himself in space to cross over and bring the ball as close to the posts as possible.

The game then wrest on the shoulders of local boy Ihaia West. Potentially playing his last game on McLean Park after signing a three year deal with French club La Rochelle, West calmly slotted the conversion to the delight of the 12,000 strong crowd.

It was not your usual Hurricanes victory but one that reinforces the championship credentials of this Brad Shields-led side.

Losing star first five-eighth Beauden Barrett just 30 minutes before kickoff was a big blow for the home side and was reinforced further when TJ Perenara came off with a leg niggle at halftime.

The Hurricanes struggled in number of areas but still found a way to win. The Sharks towering kick-offs caused constant problems for the Hurricanes jumpers and the contact areas were largely dominated by a committed Sharks pack.

It was about absorbing the pressure and taking scoring opportunities. And the Hurricanes did exactly that by adding three Ihaia West penalties in the second half before the game-clinching Ngani Laumape try in the 84th minute.

Hurricanes skipper Brad Shields said: “We put ourselves under pressure but I’m really proud of the composure we showed in the last five minutes and of the guys that came off the bench. The Sharks did their homework and made it hard for us. A win in that style is something different for us,” Shields said.

Hurricanes 38 (Jordie Barrett, Ngani Laumape 2, Vince Aso tries, Ihaia West 3 con, 4 pen) Sharks 37 (Lukhany Am 2 , Louis Schreuder, Tyler Paul tries, Robert du Preez 3 pen, 4 con)
HT: 19-27