Brilliant try could spark Hurricanes' season

06:22, Mar 29 2014
2014 Hurricanes season
Conrad Smith leads out the Hurricanes for their opening Super Rugby game against the Sharks in Durban.
2014 Hurricanes season
Halfback TJ Perenara looks to generate some quick ball against the Sharks.
2014 Hurricanes season
Marty Banks of the Hurricanes out jumps Ryan Kankowski of the Sharks.
2014 Hurricanes season
Adam Hill takes on the Sharks defence in Durban.
TJ Perenara
Hurricanes halfback TJ Perenara attempts to toe the ball forward during the second half against the Stormers.
Cory Jane
Canes wing Cory Jane is all smiles after scoring in Port Elizabeth.
Julian Savea
Julian Savea crosses the line to score against the Stormers.
Hadleigh Parkes
Hadleigh Parkes evades the tackle of a Stormers defender in Round 3.
Beauden Barrett
Beauden Barrett converts Cory Jane's try from the sideline.
2014 Hurricanes season
Adam Hill of the Hurricanes is tackled by Jesse Mogg of the Brumbies in Wellington.
2014 Hurricanes season
Blade Thomson goes over the score against the Brumbies in Wellington.
2014 Hurricanes season
Beauden Barrett makes a break for the Hurricanes against the Brumbies in Wellington.
2014 Hurricanes season
Hurricanes players cannot hide their dejection after losing to the Brumbies at home.
Conrad Smith
Conrad Smith breaks through a Hurricanes banner as he runs onto the field for his 100th match.
Conrad Smith
Conrad Smith poses in front of a fan's banner celebrating his 100 Super Rugby matches.
Conrad Smith
Conrad Smith high-fives Motu Matu'u after the big hooker scored against the Cheetahs.
Chris Smylie
Halfback Chris Smylie makes a break down the sideline as Julian Savea calls for the pass.
Dane Coles
James Marshall grabs Dane Coles around the face after a Hurricanes try.
2014 Hurricanes season
Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett congratulates Tim Bateman after the his side beat the Crusaders in Christchurch.
2014 Hurricanes season
Hurricanes centurion Conrad Smith celebrates a much-needed win for his team over the Crusaders.
2014 Hurricanes season
Alapati Leiua goes over to score the match-winning try for the Hurricanes against the Crusaders.
2014 Hurricanes season
Hurricanes halfback TJ Perenara spins a lovely pass from a ruck against the Crusaders.
2014 Hurricanes season
The Hurricanes and Bulls packs get ready to engage at McLean Park in Napier under the gaze of referee Steve Walsh.
2014 Hurricanes season
Julian Savea makes a break for the Hurricanes against the Bulls in Napier.
2014 Hurricanes season
Hurricane Brad Shields is wrapped up by a swarming Bulls defence at McLean Bark.
2014 Hurricanes season
Jeremy Thrush shows his delight at the final whistle as the Hurricanes beat the Bulls.
2014 Hurricanes season
Conrad Smith of the Hurricanes and James Horwill of the Reds share a moment's silence to mark Anzac Day.
2014 Hurricanes season
Hurricanes flanker Ardie Savea celebrates his try against the Reds at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
2014 Hurricanes season
Reds halfback Will Genia, right, tries to get to the ball ahead of Hurricanes winger Julian Savea.
2014 Hurricanes season
Chris Feauai-Sautia of the Reds looks dejected as the Hurricanes players celebrate another try in Wellington.
Hurricanes 2014 season
Andre Taylor of the Hurricanes evades the tackle of Kane Douglas of the Waratahs.
Hurricanes 2014 season
Kurtley Beale of the Waratahs meets some stern Hurricanes defence in Sydney.
Hurricanes 2014 season
Jeffery Toomaga-Allen of the Hurricanes scores a try against the Waratahs in Sydney.
Hurricanes 2014 season
Hurricanes Conrad Smith and Cory Jane chase after the Waratahs' Rob Horne.
Hurricanes 2014 season
Alapati Leiua of the Hurricanes is tackled by Bryce Hegarty of the Rebels.
Hurricanes 2014 season
Jeffery Toomaga-Allen of the Hurricanes passes whilst being tackled by Luke Jones of the Rebels.
Hurricanes 2014 season
Conrad Smith of the Hurricanes reacts after being sent to the sin bin against the Rebels in Melbourne.
Hurricanes 2014 season
Conrad Smith of the Hurricanes scores a try despite the efforts of the Rebels' Tom English.
Lolagi Visinia and Julian Savea
The Hurricanes Julian Savea gets away from Blues Lolagi Visinia.
Bryn Hall and Beauden Barrett.
The Blues' Bryn Hall chases down Hurricane Beauden Barrett.
Julian Savea
Julian Savea celebrates the Hurricanes' win over the Crusaders during their Round 17 Super Rugby match at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
Dan Carter
Dan Carter of the Crusaders looks to make a break against the Hurricanes during his first Super Rugby appearance of the season.
Ryan Crotty
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
Andy Ellis of the Crusaders and Dane Coles of the Hurricanes scuffle during their round 17 Super Rugby match.
Asaeli Tikoirotuma
Asaeli Tikoirotuma from the Chiefs during his side's 24-16 win over the Hurricanes in Hamilton.
Hadleigh Parkes
Hadleigh Parkes from the Hurricanes celebrates a try during his side's Super Rugby clash against the Chiefs in Hamilton.
Ben Tameifuna
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.
Jeremy Thrush
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.
Ardie Savea
Ardie Savea of the Hurricanes is tackled by Chiefs captain Aaron Cruden during the round 18 fixture at Waikato Stadium.

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.”

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Richie McCaw
The expression of Richie McCaw's face says it all after the Crusaders missed seven penalties in an 18-10 loss to the Chiefs.
Israel Dagg
Crusaders fullback Israel Dagg runs at Liam Messam during the season opener.
Nafi Tuitavake
Crusaders wing Nafi Tuitavake runs away from Chiefs lock Brodie Retallick.
Crusaders fans
Almost 17,000 Crusaders fans packed into Christchurch Stadium for the season opener.
Tim Perry
Crusaders prop Tim Perry is taken down by Charlie Faumuina.
Richie McCaw
Richie McCaw eyes up a tackle on George Moala before leaving the field injured.
Colin Slade
Colin Slade celebrates his first half try against the Blues.
Colin Slade and Reynold Lee-Lo
Crusaders Colin Slade (right) and Reynold Lee-Lo fail to secure the ball under pressure from George Moala.
Crusaders 2014 season
Stormers captain Jean de Villiers and the Crusaders' Kieran Read await a referee's decision during their clash in Christchurch.
Crusaders 2014 season
Johnny McNicholl of the Crusaders celebrates the final whistle following his side's comeback win over the Stormers.
Crusaders 2014 season
The Crusaders cheerleaders get the crowd going before kick-off against the Stormers.
Crusaders 2014 season
Sam Whitelock reaches highest to claim lineout ball for the Crusaders against the Chiefs.
Kieran Read
Captain Kieran Read chats to his forward pack during a break against the Rebels.
Israel Dagg
Israel Dagg attempts to get himself out of the grasp of a Melbourne Rebel.
Israel Dagg
Israel Dagg unleashes a punt downfield.
Colin Slade
Crusaders first-five Colin Slade fires a pass to his outside backs.
Ben Funnell
Crusaders Kieran Read (left) and Nafi Tuitavake rush to congratulate hooker Ben Funnell after scoring.
2014 Crusaders season
Wyatt Crockett of the Crusaders tries to offload under pressure from Jeremy Thrush of the Hurricanes.
2014 Crusaders season
Ryan Crotty makes a break for the Crusaders against the Hurricanes in Christchurch.
2014 Crusaders season
The Crusaders players look dejected after losing to the Hurricanes at the death.
2014 Crusaders season
Nemani Nadolo makes a charge down the wing for the Crusaders against the Hurricanes.
2014 Crusaders season
The Crusaders' Kieron Fonotia and Owen Franks get to grips with Schalk van der Merwe of the Lions.
2014 Crusaders season
Nepo Laulala of Crusaders tackling Faf de Klerk of Lions during the teams' clash at Ellis Park.
Crusaders 2014 season
George Whitelock and Matt Todd of Crusaders smash Lions No 8 Warren Whitley.
Crusaders
Crusaders lock Sam Whitelock takes a charge at the Lions defence.
Crusaders 2014 season
Crusaders No 10 Colin Slade goes on a run against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
Crusaders 2014 season
Crusaders halfback Willi Heinz floats a pass out in his teams clash with the Cheetahs.
Crusaders 2014 season
Crusaders captain Kieran Read breaks away from the back of a maul against the Cheetahs.
Crusaders 2014 season
Ryan Crotty swats the Cheetahs defence out of his way in Bloemfontein.
Crusaders 2014 season
Quade Cooper of the Reds is tackled by Wyatt Crockett of the Crusaders.
Crusaders 2014 season
Richie McCaw of the Crusaders takes the lineout during the round 13 Super Rugby match between the Reds and the Crusaders.
Crusaders 2014 season
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.
Crusaders 2014 season
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.
Crusaders 2014 season
Johnny McNicholl of the Crusaders scores a try during the round 13 Super Rugby match between the Reds and the Crusaders.
Crusaders 2014 season
Nemani Nandolo of the Crusaders storms down the sideline during the Chiefs and Crusaders Super Rugby match.
Crusaders 2014 season
Brodie Retallick of the Chiefs and Samuel Whitelock of the Crusaders wrestle off the ball during the Chiefs and Crusaders Super Rugby match.
Crusaders 2014 season
Willi Heinz of the Crusaders in action during the Chiefs and Crusaders Super Rugby match.
Crusaders 2014 season
Samuel Whitelock of the Crusaders has a word with a team-mate during the Chiefs and Crusaders Super Rugby match.
Crusaders 2014 season
Pat McCabe of the Brumbies is tackled by Israel Dagg of the Crusaders.
Crusaders 2014 season
Colin Slade of the Crusaders kicks a conversion during the round 12 Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and the Brumbies.
Crusaders 2014 season
Sam Whitelock of the Crusaders is tackled during the round 12 Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and the Brumbies.
Crusaders 2014 season
Nemani Nadolo of the Crusaders dives over to score a try during the round 12 Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and the Brumbies.
Julian Savea
Julian Savea celebrates the Hurricanes' win over the Crusaders during their Round 17 Super Rugby match at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
Dan Carter
Dan Carter of the Crusaders looks to make a break against the Hurricanes during his first Super Rugby appearance of the season.
Ryan Crotty
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
Andy Ellis of the Crusaders and Dane Coles of the Hurricanes scuffle during their round 17 Super Rugby match.
05-CHP-CruVBlu1
Nemani Nadolo crashes over the line for the Crusaders under pressure from a stern Blues defence.
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Crusaders centre Ryan Crotty has a cut at the Blues' line with Andy Ellis in support.
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Crusaders wing Nemani Nadolo on the charge against the Blues at AMI Stadium in Christchurch.
Ma'a Nonu
Blues star Ma'a Nonu is tackled by Dan Carter of the Crusaders during their round 18 Super Rugby match in Christchurch.
Andy Ellis
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.
Dominic Bird
Crusaders lock Dominic Bird powers through a number of would-be Blues defenders at AMI Stadium in Christchurch.
Nemani Nadolo
Nemani Nadolo of the Crusaders dives over to score a try against the Blues in round 18.
Dan Carter
Crusaders second-five Dan Carter is tackled by All Blacks team-mate and Blues prop Tony Woodcock.
Jerome Kaino
Jerome Kaino of the Blues is tackled by Andy Ellis of the Crusaders during their round 18 Super Rugby match in Christchurch.
Colin Slade
Colin Slade shows his courage on a scything run against the Highlanders in round 19 of Super Rugby.
Colin Slade
Crusaders wing Nemani Nadolo fights for the ball in midair with Highlanders opposite Richard Buckman.
Colin Slade
New Zealand's top first five eighth Dan Carter on the break against the Highlanders.
Colin Slade
Israel Dagg shows his deft touch, unloading the ball while aerial in the tackle of Highlanders wing Patrick Osbourne.
Colin Slade
A Crusaders horseman spurs cheers from the Christchurch crowd ahead of their clash with the Highlanders.
Alapati Leiua
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.

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