Both teams are known for their attacking prowess and they did not disappoint as 12 tries were scored in Hurricanes captain Conrad Smith’s 100th Super Rugby game. The Hurricanes took a much-needed full house of five points to move off the bottom of the standings whilst the Cheetahs fell short of a bonus point and remain winless on tour.
The Cheetahs took the game to their hosts early on, spending a fair amount of time in opposition territory as they looked to assert themselves, but the Hurricanes scrambled well on defence to keep them out.
The hosts struck first when Johan Goosen was caught in possession and the ball was quickly swung wide to hooker Dane Coles who showed good pace to score in the corner, with Beauden Barrett’s conversion putting them 7-0 up. The response from the Cheetahs did not take long as centre Johann Sadie burst through a gap before giving it to Willie le Roux who scored under the poles to level things up, and they had taken a 13-7 lead soon afterwards as Goosen knocked over two penalties.
However, it was not long before the Hurricanes were back in front as Barrett collected his own grubber to go over for a great individual try which he converted himself. That gave the Hurricanes a boost, and they kept the pressure on the Cheetahs as Barrett added a penalty to take their lead to 17-13. However, the Cheetahs hit back with their second try as Philip van der Walt brushed off a few tackles after getting a good pass from Le Roux who had opened up the Hurricanes defence.
The see-saw battle continued as the Hurricanes ran in their third try on the half-hour mark, with scrumhalf Chris Smylie getting over after some neat offloads by Barrett and Alapati Leiua. The hosts had the bonus point wrapped up just before half-time as some more slick handling from centurion Smith saw fullback James Marshall cross for a try which put them 29-20 up at the break.
The Cheetahs were struck a blow early in the second half when Le Roux was shown a yellow card after knocking down a pass which would have meant a certain try, and it did not take long for the Hurricanes to exploit their advantage as Barrett went over for his second try on the overlap. They were not done there as the wave of attacks continued, and lock Jeremy Thrush was next to cross the whitewash to take their lead to a commanding 43-20 with half an hour to play.
The Cheetahs hit back when lock Francois Uys crashed over the line after breaking from a driving maul, but the Hurricanes would hit back as Matt Proctor dived over in the corner after some good hands from Marshall. The half-century was brought up fittingly by Smith before Alapati Leiua put the final nail in the Cheetahs’coffin with the Hurricanes’ ninth try right at the death.
Man of the match: There was much to admire from an attacking perspective, and the man who orchestrated things for the Hurricanes was flyhalf Beauden Barrett.
For the Hurricanes:
Tries: Coles, Barrett 2, Smylie, Marshall, Thrush, Proctor, Smith, Leiua
Cons: Barrett 6
For the Cheetahs:
Tries: Le Roux, Van der Walt, Uys
Cons: Goosen 3
Pens: Goosen 2
Yellow card: Willie le Roux (Cheetahs, 43 – deliberate infringement)