Bateman's late intercept seals win for Canes
Mark Hammett was the happier coach after his Hurricanes beat the Crusaders 27-26 in their first Super Rugby pre-season hit-out in Timaru yesterday, but Crusaders' coach Todd Blackadder was far from downcast.
Both coaches gave their squads a pass mark after a sweltering 80 minutes of rugby in unrelenting heat. With no major injuries and patches of decent play, it was a fair assessment.
The Hurricanes had to overcome a slow start and were down 19-5 midway through the first of four 20-minute quarters.
A late intercept try to Tim Bateman earned the Hurricanes the win after they outscored the home team five tries to four.
Hammett has the added bonus of knowing promising halfback T J Perenara got through his first match since breaking an ankle during the Hurricanes' bye week on the Gold Coast last June.
The Hurricanes' scrum was dominant, as the Crusaders' pack, featuring five newcomers to the starting lineup, struggled.
Hammett said the match was a quality encounter given the time of year.
"I thought both teams played with more structure than perhaps you'd expect this time of year so I know I'm happy and I'd imagine Toddy [Blackadder] would be happy with parts of that.
"We probably didn't get the benefit out of the scrum that I thought we should have but this time of year it's probably a good thing we had a few more resets than usual.
"The attitude and urgency around the defensive line was also good but I don't think we were accurate enough at times, but the mentality was right," Hammett said.
Despite his team suffering their first loss in Timaru, Blackadder said he was "rapt" with the effort.
"I was really pleased with that, there were a lot of good patches there and we'll learn a lot from it.
"I'm really rapt considering we had one training run beforehand and introduced 14 new guys."
Hurricanes (James Marshall, Ash Dixon, Jason Eaton, Papa Wharewera, Tim Bateman tries; Taylor con) Crusaders (Shane Christie, Kieran Fonotia, Codie Taylor, Tom Marshall tries; Tyler Blyendaal 2 con, Tyrone Elkington con) Ht: 15-19
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