The Hurricanes will host the Super Rugby final in 2016. A three try to nil performance over the Chiefs means the Hurricanes have not allowed in a try since before the quarter finals.
The Chiefs were better at the set piece and dominated possession. 2 minutes inside the opposition 22 (to the Hurricanes 4 minutes) was not enough.
The Hurricanes tested the patience of Aussie referee, Angus Gardner, with 12 penalties to the Chiefs 5 and received a yellow card. Wonderful attacking rugby was played whenever the Hurricanes had the opportunity, but the game was won on the back of tough, consistent defense.
The Hurricanes turned opportunity into points. The Chiefs did not.
The initial arm wrestle settled into good possession by the Chiefs. We know what the Hurricanes can do from a single phase, it takes only 6 minutes to see this in action.
Damien Mckenzie misses a penalty kick giving the Hurricanes a 22 drop out. Beaudan Barrett kicks. Kick return to the first ruck and Tawera Kerr Barlow takes the ball up through traffic. A 20m run ends by being stripped of the ball by his opposite TJ Perenara. Now Barrett has to run it from the 22. Kick in play (Kerr Barlow is missing as sweeper). Barrett regathers and scampers cross field looking for support. He passes from the tackle (having held up for the support) to Willis Halaholo who scores in the corner for 5-0.
A breathtaking opening stanza settles back into the arm wrestle. The Hurricanes defense and line speed holds the Chiefs but tests the referee, Angus Gardner. Penalty. 5-3.
Ricky Riccitelli inspires the defense with a BIG hit on his opposite Nathan Harris. Not bad for a hooker that was playing U20 last year.
The Chiefs seem planted in the red zone and throw everything at it. The Hurricanes scramble. The Chiefs opt for repeated scrums from penalties. An important period of the game sees the Chiefs dominant but taking no points.
Ardie Savea shows his party tricks with dummy kick while in full flight. Sounds silly writing it but it fooled McKenzie!
Another Hurricanes break is stopped by hands in the ruck. Penalty 8:3.
Barrett intercepts and goes all the way. 15:3.
Scrum penalty and this time Aaron Cruden interrupts the decision and offers MckKenzie a kick from his unfavoured side. You have to wonder at earlier decisions at the scrum.
Half Time Hurricanes 15- Chiefs 6
Hurricanes defense coach, Plumtree, wants more possession. Hard to argue as surely, just surely the Chiefs must succeed with the amount of ball they have demanded.
The arm wrestle returns. This time the Hurricanes are using the pick and go to keep the ball safely with the forwards. Riccitelli is everywhere for the Hurricanes, Brodie Retallick for the Chiefs.
For once a little bit of possession through the forwards gets the Hurricanes into the red zone with the ball. Chiefs turn it over and panic the pass to the kicker. The speed of the Hurricane defense is impressive and McKenzie is tackled behind the line for a 10 yard scrum.
Brad Weber comes off the bench (Kerr Barlow off). The Hurricanes pack look uncomfortable but hold the scrum. From behind the scrum Perenara feints right, Webber follows. Victor Vito takes the ball from the scrum base through a gap to score. 22:6.
The Hurricanes are enthusiastic for a fast game. Not always to their advantage. Close to their line, a quick throw is taken. Unfortunately it is followed by clumsy go forward. The Chiefs bustle at the ruck. Penalty for not releasing. 22:9.
Perenara “accidently” collects a slow Chiefs player with a pass from the ruck base. Penalty milked. 25:9
With 25 minutes to go the Chiefs look as if the cupboard is bare.
Cory Jane is subbed off for Julian Savea. Minor pandemonium as Gardner ultimately calls Jane back to collect a yellow card (from the multiple team warnings). So Savea follows Jane off.
A one man advantage does not prove the difference. The Chiefs fail to score before Savea finally takes the field.
The game then features an increasingly despondent Chiefs and continued determination in defense by the Hurricanes. Loni Uhila picks up the leadership in the forwards. The Chiefs desperation sees passes sailing into touch. Too little too late.
The Hurricanes can attack. They can defend. They are in the final!
Final Score Hurricanes 25 – Chiefs 9
The 10 yard scrum early in the second half with the halfback subbed. The Hurricanes scrum fought when needed and Webber had no better answer for Perenara than Kerr-Barlow. The Vito try was a knock out.
Man of the Match
Plumtree (defense coach) has inspired a wonderful performance. Riccitelli, Ardie Savea and Victor Vito get honorable mentions. MOTM goes to Beauden Barrett. They surely would not have won without him.
Score and Scorers
Hurricanes – 25
Tries: Willis Halaholo(7′) Beauden Barrett(35′) Victor Vito(48′)
Conversions: Beaudan Barrett 2/3
Penalties: Beaudan Barret 2/2
Chiefs – 9
Penalties: Damian McKenzie 3/4
Cards & Citings
Yellow: Corey Jane (62’)