WELLINGTON, New Zealand – The Hurricanes bagged a four-try bonus point before halftime but needed a fifth try in the second half to clinch a 46-30 win over the Southern Kings in Super Rugby on Saturday.
Tries to Ben May, Conrad Smith, T.J. Perenara and Jeremy Thrush gave the Wellington-based Hurricanes a 29-16 lead at halftime over the Kings.
But the Port Elizabeth-based Kings rallied and cut the lead to 29-23 as the Hurricanes lost momentum early in the second half and the home team needed a try to Brad Shields in the 65th minute to stall the Kings’ comeback and cement their win.
Winger Alepati Leiua then scored a late try that boosted the Hurricanes winning margin.
The Hurricanes scored three tries to one in the first half but the tenacious Kings stuck with them and didn’t trail by more than 10 points until Shields scored his decisive try.
An opening try to Hurricanes’ prop Ben May — his first in Super Rugby — was quickly answered by another by Steven Sykes for the Kings, which cut the lead to 10-7.
Hurricanes’ centre Smith and scrumhalf Perenara added tries but outstanding goalkicking by Demetri Catrikilis kept the Kings in touch. Catrikilis’ conversion of Ronnie Cook’s try in the 49th minute cut the Hurricanes’ lead to six points and put the Kings in with a chance of an upset win.
But Shields stormed over for the Hurricanes’ fifth try and Leiua made the final margin convincing.
The Hurricanes are now 3-2 after five matches while the Kings are 1-4 ahead of next weekend’s clash with the ACT Brumbies.
Hurricanes 46 (Ben May, Conrad Smith, T.J. Perenara, Jeremy Thrush, Brad Shields, Alepati Leiua tries; Beauden Barrett 5 conversions, 2 penalties), Kings 30 (Steven Sykes, Ronnie Cook, Hannes Franklin tries; Demetri Catrakilis 2 conversions, 3 penalties; George Whitehead conversion). HT: 29-16.
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