Hurricanes get solid workout in double-header
The fulltime professionals of the Hurricanes had one easy win and another hard-fought battle against their provincial opposition in Palmerston North tonight.
They warmed up by beating Hawke’s Bay 38-0 but then snuck past a gutsy Manawatu 14-7 in the two 40-minute practice games.
Manawatu, with a good number of prospective Turbos players, stunned the Hurricanes with a try to No 8 Antonio Kiri Kiri from an attack started by the backs from 60 metres out.
Manawatu held the lead for 22 minutes, winning a stack of penalties at the breakdowns until wing Tamati Samuels went over near the posts after a series of Hurricanes attacks.
The winning try came 12 minutes from time when stand-in wing Ardie Savea palmed off Osea Rokubu. But a Manawatu attack in the last minute almost brought another try.
The Hurricanes got the workout they needed before playing the Crusaders at Wellington on June 28.
Against Hawke’s Bay the Hurricanes recycled ball too efficiently and scored six tries. The man who converted four of them, fullback Marty Banks, was one of the standouts in both games with his running.
Others to catch the eye were halfback Chris Smylie, loose forwards Savea and Brad Shields, and Cardiff Vaega on the left wing.
Manawatu’s Evergreens deservedly won the opening 6pm match 19-5 over a Wellington XV by scoring three tries to one.
Manawatu had the wind behind them and although smaller than Wellington and facing more weight in the scrums, the home forwards rucked and drove strongly.
Wellington had but one scoring chance and took it through No 8 Mateaki Kafatolu off a quick tap.
Wing Jordan Bunce was making breaks for Manawatu and one off a lineout set up the first try. The other two came off patient lineout drives, the final one to Turbos hooker Bryn Templeman on fulltime.
Wellington brought north only a smattering of likely ITM Cup players.
Two runaway tries to Hawke’s Bay sewed up their match with a 21-7 win over Wellington, the first off one of only three tactical kicks in the game. It was scrappy, Wellington looser than Hawke’s Bay and it even featured a sinbinning, Wellington forward Kaipati Gaualofa sent to the sideline.
The teams were evenly matched with Hawke’s Bay scoring three tries to two, capitalising on handling errors in the Wellington backline. Wellington’s two tries went to giant wing Afa Fa’atau and midfield back Ope Peleseuma, back from Taranaki.