Hurricanes blown away!

Christchurch rugby guru Richard Belton says The Hurricanes were strangely missing in action for much of the match.

Not the expected tight contest

By Roger Childs

The talented Mo’unga was probably man of the match

There were high hopes among Wellington fans before the team headed for Christchurch, but they were well beaten in the semi-final 30-12.

The supporters will be scratching their heads as to why the team didn’t play to their strengths especially getting quick ball out to their talented backline. And why did they kick so much ball away?

There was a time when the Hurricanes would attack from anywhere, as in 2016 when Laumape and Aso scored a total of 27 tries.

Meanwhile in the other semi final The Lions easily accounted for the Waratahs 44-26 at Ellis Park, but they will up against sterner opposition in next weekend’s final in Christchurch.

A well merited win

Apart from the nervous start when there were a few handling errors, the Crusaders looked very polished and professional.

It was a great all round performance based on

  • forward dominance
  • retaining possession of the ball
  • limited kicking except for well placed kicks such as the cross kick which led to a neatly finished try
  • enthusiastic backs who ran hard and timed their passing well
  • winning the majority of turn-overs with Matt Todd being outstanding as usual
  • using the aimless Hurricanes kicking to quickly counter-attack
  • having the ability to constantly back up the ball carrier which often meant that on attack they often had an extra man
  • superb defence and far fewer missed tackles than the Hurricanes
  • generally showing more enthusiasm than their opponents.

Their success all season has been based on sound coaching and using a game plan that worked.

Richie Mo’unga was outstanding demonstrating the full range of skills that you expect from  a first five. He dropped an early high kick, but after that controlled the game very effectively as well as kicking goals. He completely outplayed his fly half opposite – All Black Beauden Barrett.

Hurricanes come up short

Barrett was not as good as Mo’unga

The Wellington based team showed what they are capable of in their quarter final against the Chiefs, but at AMI Stadium they used the wrong tactics. Former Wellington coach, Bill Freeman, always said that if you have possession, keep it. However, when the Hurricanes had the ball they often kicked it away instead of using their talented backs.

Laumape, who has been a lethal weapon in earlier matches with the ability to break the line and brush off would-be tacklers, was under-utilised.

They also relied too often on forwards barging up the field instead of wiping the ball out to the speedy backs who had more space to move.

It was opportunity lost for the Hurricanes and although they scored two quality tries they were outplayed throughout by the likely champions.

Another Super Rugby title coming up?

The Crusaders should be too strong and slick in the final against the Lions on Saturday – they are a team without weaknesses.

Scott Robertson and the coaching team will be carefully studying the video of the Johannesburg semi-final.

As Richard Belton observes If the Crusaders can maintain their accuracy, focus and intensity they should be OK.

It was opportunity lost for the Hurricanes and although they scored two quality tries they were outplayed throughout by the likely champions.

 

 

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