Young Hurricanes squad impress in Brisbane


A young and exciting Hurricanes squad came within seconds of grabbing the club's first Global Rugby Ten's title in the heat of Brisbane on Saturday night.

Instead they had to settle for the runners-up medals after George Moala scored a late try to give the Blues the title following their 10-7 win.

While there was obvious disappointment at the result, the Hurricanes squad, made largely up of promising players from within the club, showed tremendous improvement in the tournament under the guidance of head coach Chris Boyd and captain Julian Savea.

Things did not start off that promising on Friday afternoon when the Hurricanes struck a typically well drilled Crusaders outfit in their first match, losing 22-0 after being down 17-0 at halftime.

However, the players picked themselves up from that result to edge Fiji 12-5 in one of the last matches on day one.

One of the highlights of the match was the intensity the Hurricanes showed on defence, something that would become a hallmark of their play in the tournament.

Experienced wing Ben Lam proved inspirational for his team-mates in the Fiji encounter, pulling off a crucial tackle under the shadows of the post before scoring the match winner two minutes later.

That victory set up a must-win match against the Brumbies on day two, something the Hurricanes delivered with some more gritty and organised defence as they edged one of the leading Australia sides 12-10 to advance to the quarterfinals.

Man-of-the-match for the Hurricanes in the win over the Brumbies was prop Alex Fidow who scored two first half tries with what proved to be some trademark runs down the edges of the sideline.

The Hurricanes then produced one of the performances in the tournament's two year running as they defeated the Waratahs 35-19, the highest score any side produced over the weekend.

Lam was again in great form against the Waratahs while the squad as a whole showed how dangerous they could be as they put a scintillating two minutes of play together to take the score from 14-7 to 28-7, effectively taking the match away from the Australians.

The victory, which had Savea saying the squad "now believed", set-up a rematch with the Crusaders in the semifinals.

While many pundits believed the Crusaders would again prove too strong, the Hurricanes showed the determination and belief they had gathered in their short stay across the Tasman to come away with a 14-10 win.

Halfback Jamie Booth was exceptional in the win, scoring two tries and organising the defence while Finlay Christe also came up with some telling plays late in the match.

"The graft the boys have shown on defence has been unreal," Booth said after the match.

That work rate was on show again in the final with Fidow putting the Hurricanes in a great position to win the match with his first half try.

Unfortunately they could not hold on in the second half as Moala snatched victory away from the Hurricanes who nevertheless could be more than proud of their efforts.

The squad now reunites in Wellington to prepare for their last pre-season match against the Blues in Auckland on Thursday before they depart to South Africa for their first Investec Super Rugby match against the Bulls.