Hurricanes produce a mighty effort to topple the unbeaten Crusaders video

Jordie Barrett of the Hurricanes breaks away for a try against the Crusaders.
HAGEN HOPKINS/GETTY IMAGES

Jordie Barrett of the Hurricanes breaks away for a try against the Crusaders.

So it's Canberra.

The fact the Hurricanes will be meeting the Brumbies when they get there, isn't that important to them. It's the journey that counts and what Canberra's proximity to Wellington affords the Super Rugby champions.

Having toppled the unbeaten Crusaders 31-22 at Westpac Stadium on Saturday night without Beauden Barrett (viral infection), Vince Aso (groin) and Dane Coles (concussion), the Hurricanes will have the trio at their disposal next week.

Crusaders wing Seta Tamanivalu had scored two tries within 14 minutes of kickoff against the Hurricanes.
GRAND DOWN/PHOTOSPORT

Crusaders wing Seta Tamanivalu had scored two tries within 14 minutes of kickoff against the Hurricanes.

Had they lost to the Crusaders, and instead drawn the Stormers in Cape Town, they might've had to leave those blokes at home.

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But which Barrett is kicking?

"What going to Canberra on Tuesday for us means is we've got a couple of days to sort those things out," Hurricanes head coach Chris Boyd.

Whether it was tries or just their set-piece dominance, the Crusaders often seemed to have reason to celebrate.
GRANT DOWN/PHOTOSPORT.

Whether it was tries or just their set-piece dominance, the Crusaders often seemed to have reason to celebrate.

It sure beats what the Chiefs are up to, having now been the team confirmed to go to Cape Town for a quarterfinal. That means a 2.30am start on Sunday morning for a bus ride to Auckland and flights to South Africa.

The only potential dampener to the Hurricanes' Saturday night satisfaction was a potential citing for second five-eighth Ngani Laumape. Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said after the match that Laumape had been cited, for a tackle that TMO Glenn Newman ruled chest-high during the match.

The incident was typical of a night when the Crusaders didn't seem to get the rub of the green. They conceded 16 penalties to the Hurricanes' seven and mixed that in with some uncharacteristic inaccuracy.

It leaves them with a home quarterfinal - assuming the Lions beat the Sharks overnight - against the Highlanders. Hardly great reward for winning 14 of their 15 games this season.

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"Look, if it was fair they wouldn't be changing the draw and the format of Super Rugby [for 2018] would they? There's your answer," Robertson said.

Given the way the Crusaders started Saturday's game, you never imagined they'd end up losing. Physically they were way too much for the Hurricanes to handle and went 12-0 up within 14 minutes.

There were other times when it looked as if they would kick on and win - like when they were leading 22-14 with 25 minutes to play - but the Hurricanes hung tough. That hasn't always been a trademark of their's but you couldn't fault their tenacity on this occasion.

Beauden Barrett was ruled out an hour before kickoff, then Aso went down in the warm-up. Wes Goosen came off the bench and onto the wing, Nehe Milner-Skudder went to fullback and Jordie Barrett took Aso's place at centre.

They all played their part - Jordie Barrett particularly - in achieving a memorable victory. Barrett had a try, kicked four conversions and a penalty and, again, looked a seasoned campaigner, rather than a 20-year-old in his first year of Super Rugby.

In the pack, men such as Mark Abbott, Ardie Savea, Brad Shields, Sam Lousi, Ricky Riccitelli and Vaea Fifita made sure that the Hurricanes couldn't be beaten on this occasion.

"There was touches of little bits of inspiration from all sorts of people in different places. But mixed in with that was some pretty average stuff as well," said Boyd.

"It was a genuine contest, wasn't it? It wasn't pretty, but it was a contest."

The type that history says the Crusaders win more times than not. They couldn't on this occasion and we wait to see how things might pan out, should these teams kick on to be grand finalists on August 5.

Hurricanes 31 (Jordie Barrett, Julian Savea, Wes Goosen, Vaea Fifita tries; Barrett 4 con, pen) Crusaders 22 (Seta Tamanivalu, Israel Dagg 2 tries; Richie Mo'unga 2 con, pen). HT: 7-12.

 

 - Stuff

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