Ngani Laumape scored two tries to boost the Hurricanes to a 25-22 win over the Highlanders in Wellington on Friday. JON CARDINELLI reports.
Laumape continues to make headlines for his explosive performances in the Hurricanes No 12 jersey. A week after scoring three tries against the Brumbies, Laumape powered over for two important scores in a closely contested derby at the Cake Tin.
The Hurricanes had not answer to the Highlanders’ physicality in the early stages. They won three penalties in the first quarter, and opted to kick for touch and set up the lineout on all three occasions. Each of those decisions culminated in a turnover for the Highlanders.
The visitors hassled the Hurricanes at the lineouts and absolutely dominated at scrum-time. The Highlanders created a try-scoring chance when they shoved the Hurricanes back up against their own line. The turnover came, and Aaron Smith used that opportunity to grab five points.
The Hurricanes finished the half strongly, though. TJ Perenara put Liam Mitchell through a hole in midfield, and the giant lock found Laumape in support. The No 12 put his head down and carried the last defender over the whitewash.
#SuperRugby – HALFTIME:
Hurricanes 14-8 Highlanders
— SuperSport (@SuperSportTV) March 8, 2019
The Hurricanes continued to battle for go-forward ball. As the end of the half approached, Jordie Barrett spotted Laumape on the left wing and found his teammate with a cross-kick.
The last defender was never going to stop Laumape from that range. With Barrett’s conversion, the Hurricanes took a 14-8 lead into the shed.
The pressure applied by the Highlanders at the scrum resulted in another try for the visitors. Beauden Barrett threw a flat pass after yet another poor set piece by the Hurricanes. The Highlanders flew up in defence, and Sio Tomkinson scored an intercept try to steer his side into the lead after 52 minutes.
The momentum was with the Highlanders at that point. Liam Coltman scored after a well-worked lineout maul, and Marty Banks’ ensuing conversion extended the lead to eight points after 60 minutes.
Beauden Barrett slotted a penalty two minutes later to bring his side back within striking distance. The Highlanders attempted to hold out, but were ultimately breached by the hosts.
Ben Lam crossed in the left-hand corner in the 71st minute to level the scores. Beauden Barrett’s conversion attempt drifted wide of the uprights.
The game appeared to be heading for a draw. Ardie Savea won a crucial breakdown penalty deep in his own half to deny the Highlanders the chance to win the match.
The Hurricanes won a penalty after the hooter right in front of the goalposts. This time, Beauden Barrett made no mistake. The successful kick earned his side a narrow win.
Hurricanes – Tries: Ngani Laumape (2), Ben Lam. Conversions: Beauden Barrett (2). Penalties: Beauden Barrett (2).
Highlanders – Tries: Aaron Smith, Sio Tomkinson, Liam Coltman. Conversions: Marty Banks (2). Penalty: Ioane.
Hurricanes – 15 Chase Tiatia, 14 Jordie Barrett, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara; 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Liam Mitchell, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (c), 1 Chris Eves.
Subs: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Fraser Armstrong, 18 Ben May, 19 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 20 Reed Prinsep, 21 Richard Judd, 22 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23 Vince Aso.
Highlanders – 15 Ben Smith (cc), 14 Richard Buckman, 13 Sio Tomkinson, 12 Thomas Umaga-Jensen, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Josh Ioane, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock (cc), 7 James Lentjes, 6 Jackson Hemopo, 5 Pari Pari Parkinson, 4 Josh Dickson, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Ayden Johnstone.
Subs: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Josh Iosefa-Scott, 19 Tom Franklin, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Waisake Naholo.
Photo: Mark Tantrum/Getty Images
You may also like