Blown away: Hurricanes beat Chiefs 25-9 in Super Rugby semi-final
Beauden Barrett creates first try, scores the second and kicks two penalties and two conversions to hand his side an emphatic win
Fly-half Beauden Barrett spurred the Hurricanes to a 25-9 win over the Chiefs in an all-New Zealand semi-final on Saturday, ensuring the Wellington-based team will host Super Rugby’s final for the second consecutive year.
Barrett created the Hurricanes’ first try, scored their second and kicked two penalties and two conversions to surpass 200 points for the season and outplay opposite number and All Blacks team-mate Aaron Cruden.
The Hurricanes lost captain Dane Coles to a rib injury – a decision made just before kick-off – but overcame that substantial setback to reach the final as top seeds, as they did last year when they were beaten by the Highlanders.
Number eight Victor Vito scored one of the Hurricanes’ three tries and scrum-half TJ Perenara had an outstanding game, as Barrett orchestrated the Hurricanes’ attacking play.
The Hurricanes’ defence remains one of the best aspects of their play, and they have now gone two and a half matches without conceding a try as the Chiefs’ only points came from three penalties to Damien McKenzie.
“The boys were really pumped, defending for a big part of that game, especially for about 15 minutes in that first half,” Hurricanes’ stand-in captain Perenara said.
“That set the standard for us. They’re a very good Chiefs team and they threw a lot at us, and for our boys to be able to step up and make some tackles was big for us.”
Barrett had a decisive hand in the game when he intercepted a pass in the 34th minute and dashed nearly 60 metres for a try which gave the Hurricanes a 15-3 lead approaching half-time.
Vito detached from a five metre scrum and dived over in the 48th minute, making the lead 22-6 and taking the match further out of the Chiefs’ reach.
The Hurricanes defence held strong, even when they were down to 14 men for 10 minutes during the second half after the sin-binning of winger Cory Jane for a deliberate knock-on.
“I think we came down here confident after last week’s performance,” Chiefs captain Cruden said. “Unfortunately, we just didn’t front in enough areas.
“We’ve got to give credit to the Hurricanes, they defended really well, applied a lot of pressure and at crucial moments they were just a bit sharper than we were.”