Hurricanes no match for Sharks in Durban heat

TOBY ROBSON
Last updated 06:16 23/02/2014
SkyTV

Completely dominated at scrum time, the Hurricanes have lost their opening Super Rugby match of the season 27-9 to the Sharks in Durban.

Conrad Smith
Getty Images
CENTRE TARGET: Hurricanes centre Conrad Smith (right) tackles the Sharks' SP Marais during their Super Rugby match in Durban, won by the Sharks 27-9.

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Completely dominated at scrum time, the Hurricanes have lost their opening Super Rugby match of the season 27-9 to the Sharks in Durban.

Such was the home side's set piece dominance the Hurricanes did well to concede only two tries and were still a chance for an unlikely win until a 65th minute intercept try to wing Lwazi Mvovo.

The Sharks set the tone for the match in the opening minutes when they dismantled the Hurricanes eight in the second scrum of the match and from then on coach Jake White's men held the upper hand.

Human battering ram blindside Willem Alberts got the other try, while Lambie landed five penalties to the delight of the 22,722 in attendance.

The Hurricanes finished the match with 14 players after replacement loose forward Adam Hill was sinbinned for a tip tackle on Mvovo with nine minutes to play.

There were some positives for Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett whose team displayed gritty defence including a standout display from openside Jack Lam.

Halfback TJ Perenara shone in a losing effort, Beauden Barrett was solid, while fullback Marty Banks made a strong Super Rugby debut despite his late intercept pass to a marginally onside, according to the TMO, Mvovo.

No 8 Blade Thomson also acquitted himself well off the back of a scrum that had skates on until veteran loosehead John Schwalger and big hooker Motu Matu'u came on later in the match.

During the first half the Springbok front row of Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis and Tendai Mtawarira had looked like men against boys.

The Hurricanes spent the opening half hours being slowly crushed by a vice-like scrum pressure.

Perenara was pinged for a not straight feed at the first scrum of the match with Lambie getting his side on the board with a penalty to make it 3-0 after 5 minutes.

The Hurricanes eight disintegrated two minutes later on their own feed on half way, then shoved off their own feed five metres from their line.

Somehow the visitor's kept their line in tact, but it was a case of hanging by a very thin thread.

Another scrum, another Sharks penalty and from the ensuing lineout, a drive and a pass saw Alberts barge over for a converted try and a 10-0 lead.

A string of forward passes frustrated any Hurricanes attempts of continuity in attack, but it was their defence that kept them in the match.

Big hits from blindside Faifili Levave and wing Julian Savea rattled the ball free from Frans Steyn and Pieter-Steph du Toit respectively. Their teammates picked up on the theme.

Perenara did his best to up the tempo and take the Sharks grinding pack out of the game, while Lam was immense in winning a string of crucial turnovers.

His first allowed Barrett to open the visitor's account and when Lambie put the Sharks kick off out on the full, the Hurricanes finally got a positive result from a scrum.

Banks capped a composed first half of Super Rugby with a 54 metre penalty and the Hurricanes went to the sheds trailing just 10-6 on the scoreboard.

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Banks' option taking was particularly sound and he created numerous opportunities for the Hurricanes in counter attack with his ability to create space for others.

The Hurricanes clawed back to 13-9 with Barrett's third penalty with half an hour to play and were starting to gain some parity up front, but couldn't convert it to points.

Banks' errant pass ended the contest, Mvovo scooting in to make it 21-9 with 15 minutes to play before Hills card and two more Lambie penalties bloated the scoreline.

The Hurricanes have a week to fix their scrum before they play the Stormers next up in Cape Town.

Sharks 27 (Willem Alberts, Lwazi Mvovo tries Patrick Lambie con 5 pens) Hurricanes 9 (Beauden Barrett 2, Marty Banks pens) at Kings Park Stadium. Referee: Andrew Lees. Crowd: 22,722

- © Fairfax NZ News

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