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Hurricanes repel Tahs second-half comeback

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 7/04/2017

The Hurricanes have held off a stirring second-half comeback from the Waratahs for a 38-28 Super Rugby win at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.

The defending champions ran in five first-half tries, but could only manage one in the second as they recorded their fifth win of the season from six starts.

They had to work hard for the victory, the Waratahs regrouping after an underwhelming first 40 minutes to run in three second-half tries.

Lethal on the counterattack, the Hurricanes scored first through second five-eighth Nagani Laumape after just three minutes, with first Beauden Barrett then brother Jordie crossing to make it 21-0.

The Waratahs finally got their hands on some ball after 15 minutes, working their way into the Hurricanes 22 for the first time.

The pressure soon told, Beauden Barrett yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-down, and the Tahs making the most of the most of it with quick tap and go.

Sekope Kepu's charge to the line drew the defence, his offload found Ned Hanigan and Bernard Foley's conversion reduced the Hurricanes lead to 21-7.

The Hurricanes weren't done, exposing the Waratahs defence out wide when winger Wes Goosen latched onto a looping cut-out pass to dot down.

Lock Mark Abbot barged across from a bungled Waratahs defensive line-out to leave the Canes cruising with a 33-7 lead at halftime.

Coming off a 41-22 loss to the Crusaders last week, the Waratahs looked on the cusp of a hiding, but came out firing from the restart.

They kicked away less possession, and were rewarded with a couple of quick tries as they took on the Hurricanes defensive line.

Returning Wallabies playmaker Bernard Foley sparked the first try with a fiery run finished by fullback Bryce Hegarty, then halfback Jake Gordon sold a nice dummy to score between the posts.

Laumape crossed for his second after 53 minutes, finishing off a mazy Beauden Barrett run to extend the Hurricanes lead to 38-21.

Andrew Kellaway crossed with 10 minutes remaining to leave the Waratahs 10 points astray and looking ominous.

But although Beauden Barrett received a second yellow card in the 78th minute for another knock-down, the Canes had done enough to hang on for the win.

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