Bonus point for Hurricanes in Sydney victory
Conrad compounds the Waratahs' agonyCHRIS BARCLAY
The Hurricanes finally savoured rare success in Sydney to remain contention for the Super Rugby play-offs by recording their first win over the Waratahs since 2006 as New South Wales' season of woe sunk to unprecedented depths at a sodden Allianz Stadium tonight.
For the first time since the professional era started in 1996, Australia's chronic underachivers suffered a sixth successive defeat and appropriately they were again complicit in their own downfall as the Hurricanes provisionally improved two places to seventh on the back of a rugged and ruthless 33-12 triumph.
The Waratahs margin of defeat in seven of their nine previous was six points or less and the home side's lack of composure and sloppy ball control was even more debilitating in round 15 as the Hurricanes absorbed massive pressure in the third quarter before revealing the killer instinct their hosts patently lack.
After repelling 16 phases the Hurricanes secured a turnover and moments later they had swept 80-metres downfield for Motu Matu'u to inflict a different brand of body blow.
The replacement hooker - who has fashioned a reputation as the competition's hardest hitter during his second half cameos - completed a move beyond the Waratahs wildest dreams after the slick and safe hands of Andre Taylor, Beauden Barrett and Victor Vito combined for the match-sealing try in the 63rd minute.
Conrad Smith then compounded the Waratahs agony nine minutes from time when the Hurricanes again capitalised when in range of the line when the All Blacks centre crossed unimpeded and with support to spare.
The Hurricanes then conjured up the perfect ending to just their third win in Sydney since - a four-try bonus point in the final seconds when Chris Eaton dived over out wide.
Their eighth win of the campaign is more than a par score for a squad that was expected to struggle after Ma'a Nonu, Piri Weepu, Hosea Gear and Andrew Hore chose not to co-exist with head coach Mark Hammett.
The win was vital because they resume against the Crusaders in Christchurch after the June internationals.
A classy finish from All Black-in-waiting Julian Savea was the principle point of difference in an opening half obviously hampered by the second night of Australia's winter.
Try-scoring possibilities were limited but the Hurricanes capitalised when gifted an opportunity in a rare occasion the Waratahs did not attempt to hoof it out of their territory seven minutes before the break.
The kick-centric Berrick Barnes changed tact to Sitaleki Tomani's surprise and then the lock lost control the Hurricanes were quick to pounce. The first attacking surge was repulsed but when back in possession they spread the ball left where Ben May gave Savea enough leeway to squeeze over.
Savea had enough strength to power through Bernard Foley's lunge to continue an impressive scoring sequence that extends to seven in his last seven games.
Barrett, who relied on the crossbar and an upright to converted two long-range penalties, made light of the awkward angle to slot the extras -justifiable reward after the Hurricanes dominated territory and possession after NSW made a typically frustrating start.
They again frittered away early possession with ineffectual kicking - a tactic that continues to irritate their dwindling faithful - but Barnes was at least on target to cancel out Barrett's brace of penalties before the home side took the lead when Jason Eaton infringed in front of the sticks.
Before three tries were notched in the final quarter, Beauden ensured the Hurricanes stayed in touch by extending his success rate to 14 consecutive kicks before he was astray with the conversion of Matu'u's score.
Hurricanes 33 (Julian Savea, Motu Matu'u, Conrad Smith, Chris Eaton tries, Beauden Barrett 3 pen 2 con) NSW Waratahs 12 (Berrick Barnes 4 pen). HT: 13-9
- © Fairfax NZ News
What do you put the Hurricanes' poor start down to in 2014?