Hurricanes go top of the NZ Conference

26 Apr 2014
Hurricanes go top of the NZ Conference

New Zealand winger Cory Jane scored a hat-trick as the impressive Hurricanes dispatched the Reds 35-21 in Wellington.

This result marks another fine step forward for the Hurricanes, who seem to have progressed since Mark Hammett publicly announced he would leave at the end of the season.

Mesmerising to watch with their dynamic attacking play, this was a second five-try haul in a week for the 'Canes as the leap up to the top of the New Zealand Conference ahead of the Chiefs.

Jane came away with the spoils by scoring a hat-trick, the All Blacks winger continuing his long and winding road back to top form with three tries here to keep his spirits up.

There was no celebrating for Reds captain James Horwill though, whose 100th cap will be one he wishes to forget.

The Reds made the most of their quick ball at the breakdown and played with more adventure than seen in recent weeks in the first half, capping it off with a try from Ben Lucas after great work from Cooper.

The Australia number ten delayed his pass to perfection for Beau Robinson to burst through the hole and release Lucas for the score in the corner.

Their defence was given a tough runout though by the Hurricanes - statistically the best attacking side in the competition.

Andre Taylor's outside break released All Blacks winger Cory Jane for his first try, before a team effort resulted in a gorgeous second.

Passing between Barrett, Taylor, out to Dane Coles who popped to Jane breaking through on his inside put the hosts back ahead with a score to be proud of.

Cooper's boot though was proving influential, the Wallaby adding three penalties in the first half with three impressive strikes too. His final one of the first put the Reds up 14-10 at the interval.

If the 'Canes could cut down the number of penalties but maintain their momentum going forward and their consistency in building attacking phases, then they would be in business.

They built the pressure well enough for TJ Perenara to duck his way over close to the line, the territorial battle paying off as the 'Canes moved ahead on the scoreboard at 17-14 with Barrett's first points of the night after missing two conversions and a penalty.

Line breaks had not been a problem for the Hurricanes all night. Barrett's burst up the middle put them into Reds territory once more and following find hands from Coles and Savea, the space was created out wide for Jane to complete his hat-trick.

Barrett's penalty a few minutes later left the Reds slightly adrift at 25-14 in the final quarter, but they weren't going down without a fight.

James Hanson found his way over the line from short range to cut the deficit to four, keeping their hosts honest.

His older brother Julian had made an impact, but Ardie Savea came on to wrap things up. Tim Bateman cut back on Barrett's switch pass, offloading to the younger Savea and future All Black who burst over for the 'Canes fifth try.

It capped off another great performance from Conrad Smith and his men. The Hurricanes, along with the Highlanders, are quickly becoming everyone's favourite second team.

Hurricanes:
Tries: Jane 3, Perenara, A.Savea
Cons: Barrett 2
Pens: Barrett 2

Reds:
Tries: Lucas, Hanson
Pens: Cooper 3