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Reds push Hurricanes to the brink

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Friday, May 18, 2018    Andy Burt    Getty Images

After being trounced 63-28 against the bottom-placed Sunwolves last week, the Reds bounced back strongly to stick with the Hurricanes throughout most of the match before coming up short 38-34.

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It was a completely different Reds outfit to the one that succumbed in Tokyo last week. Averaging a competition low of 19.8 points per match, the Reds knew they had to score a lot more points to have any chance of upsetting the Hurricanes on their home track.

From accurate set-piece movements, to constant ball recycling and hard ball running from their big forwards, the Reds didn’t relent on attack throughout the 80 minutes and came away with four well deserved tries to put the Hurricanes under big pressure.

A trademark of the Hurricanes this season has been their high tempo style of play but the final five minutes were all about winding the clock down as the Chris Boyd-coached side expertly controlled the ball to hang onto the 38-34 victory.

The Hurricanes brought plenty of their razzle-dazzle earlier in the game with Ben Lam grabbing a double to take his season tally to 14 – just one behind the overall Super Rugby single season try-scoring record of 14.

Beauden Barrett also got on the score sheet early from a TJ Perenara assist and added five conversions and a penalty to complete a tidy 18 point haul for the game.



The most impressive moment of the game came from Reds prop Taniela Tupou in the 52nd minute. The 125kg powerhouse brushed off Nehe Milner-Skudder and skipped out of a TJ Perenara tackle before feeding to 18-year-old debutant Jordan Petaia for his first Super Rugby try.

That strike closed the gap to 31-27 before the impressive Sam Lousi scored from a long Hurricanes build up to give the home-side a handy advantage.

The Reds weren’t done though, and set up a grandstand finish when Samu Kerevi went over from a brilliant Jono Lance ball.

But it wasn’t to be the Reds night as the Hurricanes kept the ball in tight in the final minutes to secure their 10th straight Super Rugby win.

Hurricanes Captain TJ Perenara said: “We are a little bit disappointed. We weren’t accurate at passages of the game we wanted to be accurate at. But credit to the Reds, they put us under pressure and put our skills under pressure. They brought a game plan that put us to the sword a bit there.”

The Hurricanes now head to Christchurch for a blockbuster clash against the Crusaders next weekend.

SCORERS:
Hurricanes 38 (Ben Lam 2, Blade Thomson, Sam Lousi tries, Beauden Barrett try, 5 con, pen) Reds 34 (Filipo Daugunu, Taniela Tupou, Jordan Petaia, Samu Kerevi tries, Jono Lance 2 pen, 4 con)
HT: 24-20