Rugby Union 3 years ago

Hurricanes cane the Rebels

  • Hurricanes cane the Rebels

With whole sale changes in the Hurricanes line up for this evenings match against the Rebels it was going to be a test of who could step up at this level by filling the vacant positions. 

It was a new look Hurricanes outfit with Ben May coming in for Ben Franks at prop, Motu Matu'u in for Dane Coles at hooker, Jeremy Thrush back from injury for his second game and Manawatu open side flanker Callum Gibbons taking over from Ardie Savea.

In the backs at 10 was James Marshall and at 15 Jason Woodward who took the field in his return match for the Canes with the talented Nehe Milner Skudder on the reserve bench.

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If this was the time to introduce a new breed of talent to the Canes starting XV and keep their momentum flowing, the coaching staff were going to find out very quickly whether those changes were warranted or not.

From the kick off the Hurricanes were very sluggish with ball retention but that all disappeared after two minutes of play as both teams settled into their game plan and began to express their intentions.

The Canes were very proficient at running from all over of the field and the first 15 minutes belonged to the Canes as the pick and go was employed and it worked well and with the Rebels not closing down those simple tactics.

It paid dividends with an illegal hand slowing the movement down resulting in a penalty to the Canes which Jason Woodward missed in his first attempt.

Brushing away that early chance to take the lead, it was back to who was going to secure tidy ball from the restart to start an assault.

With the new boys wanting to shine for the Canes, reward came in the 9th minute of play as a quick passage of passes from backs and forwards found TJ Perenara.

It was try time and from wide out, Woodward converted and it was 7-0. 

The Rebels are known for their sneaky assaults and forward rush tactics as the Crusaders found out in their first up loss in round one against this Rebels outfit.

They did not waste any time applying that on the Canes as they worked their way to the Canes try line.

But they came up short though an infringement spotted by the referee and a penalty was awarded.

Mike Harris had no problems adding three points for the visitors to stay in close contact with the Canes.

The percentage of play from both teams was evenly shared and though the Canes marched up field it looked promising but a dropped pass was snapped up by the scrambling defense and the Canes found themselves back on their own try line.

With pressure now reversed, the Canes again infringed and Harris stepped up for an easy three pointer to make it 7-6 to the Canes.

From the restart the visitors played close quarter as their backs had not quiet matched the Canes in attack.

With those close quarter encounters, it was paying small dividends and with the try line in sight for the third time in a row the Canes infringed.

By now the referee had given a last warning but it did not deter Harris from recording another three points as they hit the lead for the first time in the game 9-7.  

With only 5 minutes remaining before the half time break a Woodward penalty put the Canes back in front 10-9.

But on the stroke of half time a penalty to the Rebels had Harris on target again to go into the half time break leading 12-10.

The second half was on its way and as with the first half, early play was with the host as they made their way up into Rebels territory.

Holding on to the ball was the key but a lack of concentration for a split second saw the Canes back in their territory from a ball being dropped.

The visitors did not need a second invitation to re-gather the ball and take proceedings back into the Canes half.

Taking the ball up had worked well for the visitors in the first half and so they stayed with that plan of attack but some how there was a turn over by the Canes who put the ball high in the air for Harris to misjudge his leap.

Flanker Callum Gibbins scooped up the ball from the bounce and raced 30 metres to score and regain the lead 17-12.

From the 20 minute mark the Rebels contested every facet of play but were not as accurate as they were in their earlier games.

The Canes scored a third try to Cory Jane and again, wide out, Woodward converted and it was 24-12.

It was going to be a tough slog for the remaining 15 minutes but the visitors grew another arm and five metres out from the Canes try line they kept the pressure on the host.

But they came up short and with four straight penalties awarded and TJ Perenara sin binned they still could not breach the tight defense of the Canes.

Confidence was still with the Canes and with eight minutes to go before full time, the Canes went to the bench with Nehe Milner-Skudder and Chris Eves injected into the game.

With only a minute gone by, Milner-Skudder's first touch of the ball had him dancing down the left hand touch line and employing a reverse pass back to his Manawatu team mate Eves which would of certainly been the try of the match, only for Eves to fumble it forward.

With five minutes of time remaining until full time Milner-Skudder scored the final two tries delighting his fans for a convincing win to the Hurricanes 36-12.


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