Brilliant try could spark Hurricanes' season

The Blues' Bryn Hall chases down Hurricane Beauden Barrett.
The Blues' Bryn Hall chases down Hurricane Beauden Barrett.
The Hurricanes Julian Savea gets away from Blues Lolagi Visinia.
The Hurricanes Julian Savea gets away from Blues Lolagi Visinia.
Conrad Smith of the Hurricanes scores a try despite the efforts of the Rebels' Tom English.
Conrad Smith of the Hurricanes scores a try despite the efforts of the Rebels' Tom English.
Ben Tameifuna of the Chiefs steps out of the tackles of Ardie Savea (left) and Jeffery Toomaga-Allen of the Hurricanes during his side's round 18 Super Rugby win in Hamilton.
Ben Tameifuna of the Chiefs steps out of the tackles of Ardie Savea (left) and Jeffery Toomaga-Allen of the Hurricanes during his side's round 18 Super Rugby win in Hamilton.
Alapati Leiua of the Hurricanes is tackled by Bryce Hegarty of the Rebels.
Alapati Leiua of the Hurricanes is tackled by Bryce Hegarty of the Rebels.
Hadleigh Parkes from the Hurricanes celebrates a try during his side's Super Rugby clash against the Chiefs in Hamilton.
Hadleigh Parkes from the Hurricanes celebrates a try during his side's Super Rugby clash against the Chiefs in Hamilton.
Jeffery Toomaga-Allen of the Hurricanes passes whilst being tackled by Luke Jones of the Rebels.
Jeffery Toomaga-Allen of the Hurricanes passes whilst being tackled by Luke Jones of the Rebels.
Asaeli Tikoirotuma from the Chiefs during his side's 24-16 win over the Hurricanes in Hamilton.
Asaeli Tikoirotuma from the Chiefs during his side's 24-16 win over the Hurricanes in Hamilton.
Ryan Crotty, captain of the Crusaders, is tackled by Ardie Savea of the Hurricanes during their Super Rugby clash at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
Ryan Crotty, captain of the Crusaders, is tackled by Ardie Savea of the Hurricanes during their Super Rugby clash at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
Jeremy Thrush of the Hurricanes charges into Liam Messam of the Chiefs with the assistance of Ben Franks (left) during the round 18 clash between the two sides at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton.
Jeremy Thrush of the Hurricanes charges into Liam Messam of the Chiefs with the assistance of Ben Franks (left) during the round 18 clash between the two sides at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton.
Conrad Smith of the Hurricanes reacts after being sent to the sin bin against the Rebels in Melbourne.
Conrad Smith of the Hurricanes reacts after being sent to the sin bin against the Rebels in Melbourne.
Andy Ellis of the Crusaders and Dane Coles of the Hurricanes scuffle during their round 17 Super Rugby match.
Andy Ellis of the Crusaders and Dane Coles of the Hurricanes scuffle during their round 17 Super Rugby match.
Ardie Savea of the Hurricanes is tackled by Chiefs captain Aaron Cruden during the round 18 fixture at Waikato Stadium.
Ardie Savea of the Hurricanes is tackled by Chiefs captain Aaron Cruden during the round 18 fixture at Waikato Stadium.
Andre Taylor of the Hurricanes evades the tackle of Kane Douglas of the Waratahs.
Andre Taylor of the Hurricanes evades the tackle of Kane Douglas of the Waratahs.
Kurtley Beale of the Waratahs meets some stern Hurricanes defence in Sydney.
Kurtley Beale of the Waratahs meets some stern Hurricanes defence in Sydney.
Dan Carter of the Crusaders looks to make a break against the Hurricanes during his first Super Rugby appearance of the season.
Dan Carter of the Crusaders looks to make a break against the Hurricanes during his first Super Rugby appearance of the season.
Julian Savea celebrates the Hurricanes' win over the Crusaders during their Round 17 Super Rugby match at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
Julian Savea celebrates the Hurricanes' win over the Crusaders during their Round 17 Super Rugby match at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
Jeffery Toomaga-Allen of the Hurricanes scores a try against the Waratahs in Sydney.
Jeffery Toomaga-Allen of the Hurricanes scores a try against the Waratahs in Sydney.
Hurricanes Conrad Smith and Cory Jane chase after the Waratahs' Rob Horne.
Hurricanes Conrad Smith and Cory Jane chase after the Waratahs' Rob Horne.
Chris Feauai-Sautia of the Reds looks dejected as the Hurricanes players celebrate another try in Wellington.
Chris Feauai-Sautia of the Reds looks dejected as the Hurricanes players celebrate another try in Wellington.
Hurricanes flanker Ardie Savea celebrates his try against the Reds at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
Hurricanes flanker Ardie Savea celebrates his try against the Reds at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
Reds halfback Will Genia, right, tries to get to the ball ahead of Hurricanes winger Julian Savea.
Reds halfback Will Genia, right, tries to get to the ball ahead of Hurricanes winger Julian Savea.
Conrad Smith of the Hurricanes and James Horwill of the Reds share a moment's silence to mark Anzac Day.
Conrad Smith of the Hurricanes and James Horwill of the Reds share a moment's silence to mark Anzac Day.
The Hurricanes and Bulls packs get ready to engage at McLean Park in Napier under the gaze of referee Steve Walsh.
The Hurricanes and Bulls packs get ready to engage at McLean Park in Napier under the gaze of referee Steve Walsh.
Julian Savea makes a break for the Hurricanes against the Bulls in Napier.
Julian Savea makes a break for the Hurricanes against the Bulls in Napier.
Hurricane Brad Shields is wrapped up by a swarming Bulls defence at McLean Bark.
Hurricane Brad Shields is wrapped up by a swarming Bulls defence at McLean Bark.
Jeremy Thrush shows his delight at the final whistle as the Hurricanes beat the Bulls.
Jeremy Thrush shows his delight at the final whistle as the Hurricanes beat the Bulls.
Hurricanes halfback TJ Perenara spins a lovely pass from a ruck against the Crusaders.
Hurricanes halfback TJ Perenara spins a lovely pass from a ruck against the Crusaders.
Alapati Leiua goes over to score the match-winning try for the Hurricanes against the Crusaders.
Alapati Leiua goes over to score the match-winning try for the Hurricanes against the Crusaders.
Hurricanes centurion Conrad Smith celebrates a much-needed win for his team over the Crusaders.
Hurricanes centurion Conrad Smith celebrates a much-needed win for his team over the Crusaders.
Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett congratulates Tim Bateman after the his side beat the Crusaders in Christchurch.
Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett congratulates Tim Bateman after the his side beat the Crusaders in Christchurch.
Conrad Smith poses in front of a fan's banner celebrating his 100 Super Rugby matches.
Conrad Smith poses in front of a fan's banner celebrating his 100 Super Rugby matches.
Halfback Chris Smylie makes a break down the sideline as Julian Savea calls for the pass.
Halfback Chris Smylie makes a break down the sideline as Julian Savea calls for the pass.
James Marshall grabs Dane Coles around the face after a Hurricanes try.
James Marshall grabs Dane Coles around the face after a Hurricanes try.
Conrad Smith high-fives Motu Matu'u after the big hooker scored against the Cheetahs.
Conrad Smith high-fives Motu Matu'u after the big hooker scored against the Cheetahs.
Conrad Smith breaks through a Hurricanes banner as he runs onto the field for his 100th match.
Conrad Smith breaks through a Hurricanes banner as he runs onto the field for his 100th match.
Hurricanes players cannot hide their dejection after losing to the Brumbies at home.
Hurricanes players cannot hide their dejection after losing to the Brumbies at home.
Beauden Barrett makes a break for the Hurricanes against the Brumbies in Wellington.
Beauden Barrett makes a break for the Hurricanes against the Brumbies in Wellington.
Blade Thomson goes over the score against the Brumbies in Wellington.
Blade Thomson goes over the score against the Brumbies in Wellington.
Adam Hill of the Hurricanes is tackled by Jesse Mogg of the Brumbies in Wellington.
Adam Hill of the Hurricanes is tackled by Jesse Mogg of the Brumbies in Wellington.
Hurricanes halfback TJ Perenara attempts to toe the ball forward during the second half against the Stormers.
Hurricanes halfback TJ Perenara attempts to toe the ball forward during the second half against the Stormers.
Canes wing Cory Jane is all smiles after scoring in Port Elizabeth.
Canes wing Cory Jane is all smiles after scoring in Port Elizabeth.
Beauden Barrett converts Cory Jane's try from the sideline.
Beauden Barrett converts Cory Jane's try from the sideline.
Julian Savea crosses the line to score against the Stormers.
Julian Savea crosses the line to score against the Stormers.
Hadleigh Parkes evades the tackle of a Stormers defender in Round 3.
Hadleigh Parkes evades the tackle of a Stormers defender in Round 3.
Conrad Smith leads out the Hurricanes for their opening Super Rugby game against the Sharks in Durban.
Conrad Smith leads out the Hurricanes for their opening Super Rugby game against the Sharks in Durban.
Halfback TJ Perenara looks to generate some quick ball against the Sharks.
Halfback TJ Perenara looks to generate some quick ball against the Sharks.
Marty Banks of the Hurricanes out jumps Ryan Kankowski of the Sharks.
Marty Banks of the Hurricanes out jumps Ryan Kankowski of the Sharks.
Adam Hill takes on the Sharks defence in Durban.
Adam Hill takes on the Sharks defence in Durban.

Alapati Leiua's intentions might have been small, but the ramifications of his brilliant match-winning try against the Crusaders could be enormous for the Hurricanes.

In the space of 50 metres the Samoan international changed a match and possibly a season as he left at least five red and black defenders sprawling in his wake.

Seven weeks into Super Rugby it may well end up being the try of the season and not just because it turned a 26-24 deficit into a 29-26 bonus point win.

“I got outside him [Johnny McNicholl] with that fend and I wasn't thinking about going for the try, I was thinking at least we've got past the gain line, that's what I was thinking at the time,” he said.

“I just wanted to get some metres. I didn't know there were so many of them. I knew there was one, but not so many at the back.”

With Crusaders coming from every side, Leiua made a series of perfect decisions after he glided outside McNicholl.

First he hugged the touchline, backed his pace to skip out of a diving cover tackle, then he swerved in-field to wrong foot fullback Israel Dagg before turning to his left to fend off two more would be tacklers.

It was an exhilarating end to a thrilling match and exactly why All Blacks coach Steve Hansen had been so keen last year to have Leiua declare his hand for New Zealand.

Leiua was too humble to talk himself up then and remained so after his Hurricanes heroics.

“I had to work a little bit harder for that try, but the boys helped me out before that try, so credit to the team,” were his first words when asked by The Dominion Post to describe his try.

“We've been talking during the week about coming out really fired up for this game ... we've been working hard on our defence all week and it paid off tonight.”

That's partly true, but it was two defensive blunders from the Crusaders wings McNicholl and Tuitavake that proved decisive, the latter caught ball watching after halftime to allow Julian Savea a free pass to kick and chase for a crucial try.

Both of the Hurricanes' wings were influential and Leiua is confident he'll see plenty more ball in coming weeks.

“With the Hurricanes every game we want to play, we want to keep the ball in hand. If we keep moving teams around we will find space and score those tries,” he said.

“I really believe in the team and I know we'll work even harder than we have over the past two weeks and the results will take care of themselves.”

Colin Slade shows his courage on a scything run against the Highlanders in round 19 of Super Rugby.
Colin Slade shows his courage on a scything run against the Highlanders in round 19 of Super Rugby.
Crusaders wing Nemani Nadolo on the charge against the Blues at AMI Stadium in Christchurch.
Crusaders wing Nemani Nadolo on the charge against the Blues at AMI Stadium in Christchurch.
Crusaders wing Nemani Nadolo fights for the ball in midair with Highlanders opposite Richard Buckman.
Crusaders wing Nemani Nadolo fights for the ball in midair with Highlanders opposite Richard Buckman.
Crusaders centre Ryan Crotty has a cut at the Blues' line with Andy Ellis in support.
Crusaders centre Ryan Crotty has a cut at the Blues' line with Andy Ellis in support.
New Zealand's top first five eighth Dan Carter on the break against the Highlanders.
New Zealand's top first five eighth Dan Carter on the break against the Highlanders.
Nemani Nadolo crashes over the line for the Crusaders under pressure from a stern Blues defence.
Nemani Nadolo crashes over the line for the Crusaders under pressure from a stern Blues defence.
Israel Dagg shows his deft touch, unloading the ball while aerial in the tackle of Highlanders wing Patrick Osbourne.
Israel Dagg shows his deft touch, unloading the ball while aerial in the tackle of Highlanders wing Patrick Osbourne.
A Crusaders horseman spurs cheers from the Christchurch crowd ahead of their clash with the Highlanders.
A Crusaders horseman spurs cheers from the Christchurch crowd ahead of their clash with the Highlanders.
Blues star Ma'a Nonu is tackled by Dan Carter of the Crusaders during their round 18 Super Rugby match in Christchurch.
Blues star Ma'a Nonu is tackled by Dan Carter of the Crusaders during their round 18 Super Rugby match in Christchurch.
Andy Ellis, centre, of the Crusaders is tackled by Blues players Tony Woodcock (left) and Luke Braid (right) during his side's win in Christchurch.
Andy Ellis, centre, of the Crusaders is tackled by Blues players Tony Woodcock (left) and Luke Braid (right) during his side's win in Christchurch.
Crusaders lock Dominic Bird powers through a number of would-be Blues defenders at AMI Stadium in Christchurch.
Crusaders lock Dominic Bird powers through a number of would-be Blues defenders at AMI Stadium in Christchurch.
Jerome Kaino of the Blues is tackled by Andy Ellis of the Crusaders during their round 18 Super Rugby match in Christchurch.
Jerome Kaino of the Blues is tackled by Andy Ellis of the Crusaders during their round 18 Super Rugby match in Christchurch.
Nemani Nadolo of the Crusaders dives over to score a try against the Blues in round 18.
Nemani Nadolo of the Crusaders dives over to score a try against the Blues in round 18.
Crusaders second-five Dan Carter is tackled by All Blacks team-mate and Blues prop Tony Woodcock.
Crusaders second-five Dan Carter is tackled by All Blacks team-mate and Blues prop Tony Woodcock.
Ryan Crotty, captain of the Crusaders, is tackled by Ardie Savea of the Hurricanes during their Super Rugby clash at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
Ryan Crotty, captain of the Crusaders, is tackled by Ardie Savea of the Hurricanes during their Super Rugby clash at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
Andy Ellis of the Crusaders and Dane Coles of the Hurricanes scuffle during their round 17 Super Rugby match.
Andy Ellis of the Crusaders and Dane Coles of the Hurricanes scuffle during their round 17 Super Rugby match.
Dan Carter of the Crusaders looks to make a break against the Hurricanes during his first Super Rugby appearance of the season.
Dan Carter of the Crusaders looks to make a break against the Hurricanes during his first Super Rugby appearance of the season.
Julian Savea celebrates the Hurricanes' win over the Crusaders during their Round 17 Super Rugby match at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
Julian Savea celebrates the Hurricanes' win over the Crusaders during their Round 17 Super Rugby match at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
Johnny McNicholl of the Crusaders scores a try during the round 13 Super Rugby match between the Reds and the Crusaders.
Johnny McNicholl of the Crusaders scores a try during the round 13 Super Rugby match between the Reds and the Crusaders.
Johnny McNicholl of the Crusaders celebrates with team mate Israel Dagg after scoring a try during the round 13 Super Rugby match between the Reds and the Crusaders.
Johnny McNicholl of the Crusaders celebrates with team mate Israel Dagg after scoring a try during the round 13 Super Rugby match between the Reds and the Crusaders.
Luke Whitelock of the Crusaders breaks away from the defence to score a try during the round 13 Super Rugby match between the Reds and the Crusaders.
Luke Whitelock of the Crusaders breaks away from the defence to score a try during the round 13 Super Rugby match between the Reds and the Crusaders.
Richie McCaw of the Crusaders takes the lineout during the round 13 Super Rugby match between the Reds and the Crusaders.
Richie McCaw of the Crusaders takes the lineout during the round 13 Super Rugby match between the Reds and the Crusaders.
Quade Cooper of the Reds is tackled by Wyatt Crockett of the Crusaders.
Quade Cooper of the Reds is tackled by Wyatt Crockett of the Crusaders.
Nemani Nadolo of the Crusaders dives over to score a try during the round 12 Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and the Brumbies.
Nemani Nadolo of the Crusaders dives over to score a try during the round 12 Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and the Brumbies.
Sam Whitelock of the Crusaders is tackled during the round 12 Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and the Brumbies.
Sam Whitelock of the Crusaders is tackled during the round 12 Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and the Brumbies.
Colin Slade of the Crusaders kicks a conversion during the round 12 Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and the Brumbies.
Colin Slade of the Crusaders kicks a conversion during the round 12 Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and the Brumbies.
Pat McCabe of the Brumbies is tackled by Israel Dagg of the Crusaders.
Pat McCabe of the Brumbies is tackled by Israel Dagg of the Crusaders.
Samuel Whitelock of the Crusaders has a word with a team-mate during the Chiefs and Crusaders Super Rugby match.
Samuel Whitelock of the Crusaders has a word with a team-mate during the Chiefs and Crusaders Super Rugby match.
Willi Heinz of the Crusaders in action during the Chiefs and Crusaders Super Rugby match.
Willi Heinz of the Crusaders in action during the Chiefs and Crusaders Super Rugby match.
Brodie Retallick of the Chiefs and Samuel Whitelock of the Crusaders wrestle off the ball during the Chiefs and Crusaders Super Rugby match.
Brodie Retallick of the Chiefs and Samuel Whitelock of the Crusaders wrestle off the ball during the Chiefs and Crusaders Super Rugby match.
Nemani Nandolo of the Crusaders storms down the sideline during the Chiefs and Crusaders Super Rugby match.
Nemani Nandolo of the Crusaders storms down the sideline during the Chiefs and Crusaders Super Rugby match.
Ryan Crotty swats the Cheetahs defence out of his way in Bloemfontein.
Ryan Crotty swats the Cheetahs defence out of his way in Bloemfontein.
Crusaders captain Kieran Read breaks away from the back of a maul against the Cheetahs.
Crusaders captain Kieran Read breaks away from the back of a maul against the Cheetahs.
Crusaders halfback Willi Heinz floats a pass out in his teams clash with the Cheetahs.
Crusaders halfback Willi Heinz floats a pass out in his teams clash with the Cheetahs.
Crusaders No 10 Colin Slade goes on a run against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
Crusaders No 10 Colin Slade goes on a run against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
Crusaders lock Sam Whitelock takes a charge at the Lions defence.
Crusaders lock Sam Whitelock takes a charge at the Lions defence.
George Whitelock and Matt Todd of Crusaders smash Lions No 8 Warren Whitley.
George Whitelock and Matt Todd of Crusaders smash Lions No 8 Warren Whitley.
Nepo Laulala of Crusaders tackling Faf de Klerk of Lions during the teams' clash at Ellis Park.
Nepo Laulala of Crusaders tackling Faf de Klerk of Lions during the teams' clash at Ellis Park.
The Crusaders' Kieron Fonotia and Owen Franks get to grips with Schalk van der Merwe of the Lions.
The Crusaders' Kieron Fonotia and Owen Franks get to grips with Schalk van der Merwe of the Lions.
Wyatt Crockett of the Crusaders tries to offload under pressure from Jeremy Thrush of the Hurricanes.
Wyatt Crockett of the Crusaders tries to offload under pressure from Jeremy Thrush of the Hurricanes.
Ryan Crotty makes a break for the Crusaders against the Hurricanes in Christchurch.
Ryan Crotty makes a break for the Crusaders against the Hurricanes in Christchurch.
Nemani Nadolo makes a charge down the wing for the Crusaders against the Hurricanes.
Nemani Nadolo makes a charge down the wing for the Crusaders against the Hurricanes.
The Crusaders players look dejected after losing to the Hurricanes at the death.
The Crusaders players look dejected after losing to the Hurricanes at the death.
Israel Dagg attempts to get himself out of the grasp of a Melbourne Rebel.
Israel Dagg attempts to get himself out of the grasp of a Melbourne Rebel.
Crusaders Kieran Read (left) and Nafi Tuitavake rush to congratulate hooker Ben Funnell after scoring.
Crusaders Kieran Read (left) and Nafi Tuitavake rush to congratulate hooker Ben Funnell after scoring.
Crusaders first-five Colin Slade fires a pass to his outside backs.
Crusaders first-five Colin Slade fires a pass to his outside backs.
Israel Dagg unleashes a punt downfield.
Israel Dagg unleashes a punt downfield.
Captain Kieran Read chats to his forward pack during a break against the Rebels.
Captain Kieran Read chats to his forward pack during a break against the Rebels.
Johnny McNicholl of the Crusaders celebrates the final whistle following his side's comeback win over the Stormers.
Johnny McNicholl of the Crusaders celebrates the final whistle following his side's comeback win over the Stormers.
Stormers captain Jean de Villiers and the Crusaders' Kieran Read await a referee's decision during their clash in Christchurch.
Stormers captain Jean de Villiers and the Crusaders' Kieran Read await a referee's decision during their clash in Christchurch.
Sam Whitelock reaches highest to claim lineout ball for the Crusaders against the Chiefs.
Sam Whitelock reaches highest to claim lineout ball for the Crusaders against the Chiefs.
The Crusaders cheerleaders get the crowd going before kick-off against the Stormers.
The Crusaders cheerleaders get the crowd going before kick-off against the Stormers.
Crusaders prop Tim Perry is taken down by Charlie Faumuina.
Crusaders prop Tim Perry is taken down by Charlie Faumuina.
Colin Slade celebrates his first half try against the Blues.
Colin Slade celebrates his first half try against the Blues.
Richie McCaw eyes up a tackle on George Moala before leaving the field injured.
Richie McCaw eyes up a tackle on George Moala before leaving the field injured.
Crusaders Colin Slade (right) and Reynold Lee-Lo fail to secure the ball under pressure from George Moala.
Crusaders Colin Slade (right) and Reynold Lee-Lo fail to secure the ball under pressure from George Moala.
Crusaders fullback Israel Dagg runs at Liam Messam during the season opener.
Crusaders fullback Israel Dagg runs at Liam Messam during the season opener.
The expression of Richie McCaw's face says it all after the Crusaders missed seven penalties in an 18-10 loss to the Chiefs.
The expression of Richie McCaw's face says it all after the Crusaders missed seven penalties in an 18-10 loss to the Chiefs.
Crusaders wing Nafi Tuitavake runs away from Chiefs lock Brodie Retallick.
Crusaders wing Nafi Tuitavake runs away from Chiefs lock Brodie Retallick.
Almost 17,000 Crusaders fans packed into Christchurch Stadium for the season opener.
Almost 17,000 Crusaders fans packed into Christchurch Stadium for the season opener.
CAN'T TOUCH THIS: Hurricanes wing Alapati Leiua skips out of the tackle of Sam Whitelock on his way to a match-winning try against the Crusaders.
CAN'T TOUCH THIS: Hurricanes wing Alapati Leiua skips out of the tackle of Sam Whitelock on his way to a match-winning try against the Crusaders.

The Dominion Post