Outstanding defence from the Hurricanes paved the way for a second placed finish after the Super 14 round-robin stage and a first ever home playoff, where they will play the Waratahs again.
For season pass holders who haven’t already booked their seats Ticketmaster can be contacted on Sunday 14 May between 10 am and 8 pm, and on Monday 15 May between 8 am and 8 pm to secure tickets. Paper tickets will be couriered out in due course. Please note plastic cards will not be valid.
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The Hurricanes scored three tries in the first half to lead 19-7 at halftime, before heroic defence with the team down to 14 men restricted the Waratahs to just one try in the second 40 minutes of play.
Two well-taken tries gave the Hurricanes a 12-0 lead inside the first 20 minutes.
Left wing Shannon Paku scored the first try in the seventh minute. A lovely short pass from blindside flanker Jerry Collins to centre Ma’a Nonu allowed Nonu to burst through the defence, before linking up with second five-eighth Tana Umaga and fullback Isaia Toeava and Paku, who crossed in the corner.
Collins helped spark the second try ten minutes later, finding Umaga with another pop pass, who was dragged down just short of the line. From the ensuing ruck, both props, Neemia Tialata and John Schwalger, were on hand, with Schwalger scoring his first Super 14 try. First five-eighth Jimmy Gopperth converted from near the posts.
The Waratahs then spent a period of time pressed on attack in Hurricanes territory, before openside flanker Phil Waugh scored in the left hand corner on the end of a swift movement across the field. Fullback Peter Hewat was successful with converting Waugh’s try, closing the deficit to 12-7.
The Hurricanes finished the first half strongly, creating further opportunities towards halftime, and their third try came from a Waratahs mistake in clearing the ball from their own line.
Gopperth and openside flanker Chris Masoe charged down a Hewat kick for touch from a defensive scrum, with Gopperth beating Masoe in the race to the ball over the goal line.
Desperate to score first after halftime, the Waratahs swung on attack for long periods, but only scored one try. Weight of numbers finally gave the Waratahs the try they had been searching for, with right wing Sam Norton-Knight crossing for a converted try, closing the gap to 19-14 with 15 minutes remaining.
The Hurricanes held on until the end for their tenth win of the season.