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The Hurricanes are not used to this.
This is the best start they have
made to a Super Rugby campaign
and with six wins from as many
games, they are sitting pretty at the
top of the ladder.
Even during the the mid-to-late
2000s, when they featured in the
playoffs, they never experienced such
They made the most of their first
game of the season at Westpac
Stadium in Wellington last night as
they pushed the Melbourne Rebels
Crucially, they also banked a four-
try bonus point as they extended
their lead at the top. Playing from
in front in this competition forces a
renewed attitude among a team.
“ It is different,” Hurricanes captain
Conrad Smith said. “ We started
talking about it a little bit last week
and we’ve got to find a way to enjoy
it, other wise it can cramp your style
a little bit. You’ve just got to embrace
it and you realise teams are going to
come for you.”
Last night’s win was built on
patience as the Hurricanes cashed in
on what little ball they did have; 43%
of possession to be precise.
Melbourne emptied plenty of gas
from the tank during the first half as
they tried to smother the Hurricanes
but they were unable to create any
meaningful attack. The visitors took
a 12-10 lead to the break courtesy of
four penalties from Mike Harris but
they never troubled the scorers in the
“ We just wore them down and
they tired a little and when we got
our chances we were reasonably fresh
and we were able to get points out of
it,” Smith said.
As the Rebels began to fall off
tackles, the Hurricanes finished with
a bang; replacement fullback Nehe
Milner-Skudder added a late double,
which included the bonus-point try.
His footwork continues to dazzle
and he must be pushing to win back
that No 15 jersey given what he
offers the side on attack.
“ Every year I’ve played in the
Hurricanes there’s been outside
backs like that,” Smith said. “ We are
always blessed with them and he’s
Earlier tries to T J Perenara, Cory
Jane and Callum Gibbins helped
build the lead, which the Hurricanes
had to protect for 10 of the final
11 minutes with only 14 men after
Perenara was sent to the sin bin.
Importantly, for coach Chris Boyd,
the Hurricanes were able to come
through the contest without any
major injuries. They also took the
chance to rest a few All Blacks.
The Stormers are up next for the
Hurricanes on Good Friday and
there is a chance that more All
Blacks will be given a week off.
Boyd has said the Hurricanes
want to rest their internationals in
games against the non-Kiwi sides
as conference matches against their
New Zealand opponents are more
important as they target the play-
offs. — NZME
Parramatta have stunned reigning NRL
premiers South Sydney 29-16 in a thrilling
encounter at Pirtek Stadium to record their first
win over the Rabbitohs in five years.
Doubles in either half from rookie winger
John Folau, brother of Wallabies superstar
Israel Folau, and experienced wideman Reece
Robinson secured a thoroughly deser ved win
as Michael Maguire’s side tasted defeat for the
first time since round 26 last season.
The Eels, who went into the game on the back
of two successive defeats, had lost the past seven
matches between the sides, were magnificent
with former Souths halfback Chris Sandow at
the centre of everything.
An Alex Johnston try 20 minutes from time,
after the visitors had withstood a barrage of
pressure on their own line, gave Souths a lifeline
but the expected onslaught never materialised.
Sandow kicked a field goal three minutes
from time to edge his side seven points in front
and then iced the game with a converted try in
the final minute.
Souths started the game in ominous fashion
and took the lead in the 10th minute when Joel
Reddy crossed against his former club but the
Eels hit back with a home debut try from Folau.
A Sandow penalty put the hosts 8-6 ahead but
the visitors regained the lead when a brilliant
torpedo kick had Eels fullback Will Hopoate
groping thin air and Chris Grevsmuhl muscled
his way over the line after being put clear by
Folau grabbed his second try just before the
break and Sandow converted the extras to give
the Eels a lead they never relinquished much to
the delight of the 15,562 home crowd.
Eels coach Brad Arthur was full of praise
for his side’s performance but said his players
needed to find a way to replicate their home
form on the road.
“ I’m proud of the boys. Physically, we aimed
up and, on our tryline with six minutes to go, we
had to defend three sets,” Arthur said.
“Souths are pretty good at turning possession
into points. I hope this is going to be a turning
point for us moving for ward.
“ We’ve already spoke about finding that same
attitude away from Parramatta Stadium. We’ve
showed we can play and, if we complete our sets
and make our tackles, we can match any team in
the competition, but it’s an attitude thing away
Souths Michael Maguire said his side weren’t
anywhere near their best, but had no complaints
about the result.
“ We played a hungry team on their home
ground and we just weren’t on our game. We’ll
address it and move for ward,” Maguire said,
“ It ’s not what we live up to. We didn’t complete
well and, defensively, we didn’t do it as well as
we are capable of. ”
PICTURE: Nicholas McBride
Westland Rally roars into action
Greymouth driver Graham Ferguson and navigator Kevin Lynch line up in their Escort RS1800 to start the Westland Rally outside Repco in
Greymouth this morning. The rally got under way at 8am, starting in Greymouth and with stages around the Grey district and Hokitika.
of the New Zealand Herald
A cricket career that has inspired
millions is set to culminate in one of
sport ’s grandest cathedrals tomorrow
when New Zealand play their inaugural
World Cup final against Australia.
Father Time suggests Daniel Luca
Vettori will walk out for his final
His cricket-playing epitaph needs to be
simple. Perhaps: Vettori — veni, vidi, vici
I came, I saw, I conquered.
As New Zealand’s youngest test and
one-day international debutant, and now
the most experienced, he certainly came
and saw. The third strand of the famous
dictum will fit perfectly if New Zealand
Just seeing ‘DL Vettori’ on a team sheet
adds a different psychological dimension
for both teams.
The Herald recently described his
senior New Zealand role in wombling
parlance, as ‘a Great Uncle Bulgaria-
like figure in a team full of Tomsks’, but
he might be more like Tobermory; an
active handyman who gets things done.
Vettori’s workshop has involved 22 yards
of clay surrounded by, preferably, as big an
acreage as possible. He is one of just five
bowlers, since the July 2005 introduction
of increased one-day international
fielding restrictions, to bowl more than
1000 balls and concede less than four
runs an over (3.98). The others are South
Africa’s Shaun Pollock, Australia’s Glenn
McGrath, Zimbabwe’s Ray Price and
Pakistan’s Mohammad Hafeez.
That is what appeals about Vettori’s
role on the Melbourne Cricket Ground ’s
two hectare expanse. The ‘G’ is a verdant
carpet where players need to apply more
conservatism. The usual brand of big-
hitting might need to be more selective
if it ’s to breach distant ropes. Vettori is a
sponge for mopping up splashes of high
For those aged 25 or younger, his
presence will extend to their cricketing
Bespectacled, with shoulder-length
hair and a benign run-up disguising
a penetrative arsenal of deliveries,
his composure was freakish as New
Zealand’s youngest debutant at 18 years
and 10 days against England at the Basin
Reserve in February 1997. He made his
ODI debut the following month. He has
amassed 362 test and 305 ODI wickets
since. From an unassuming teenager,
picked after two first-class games, he has
become a colossus of experience.
Vettori has now played international
cricket more than half his life. His
working days have involved bowling,
hitting, fielding and catching a ball.
However, he has rarely lost his sense of
composure. That has been as evident as
ever in the past couple of weeks.
The senior pro’s batting and fielding has
had as much impact as his bowling in the
knock-out World Cup matches. What’s
referred to as the ‘Air Vettori’, in a nod
to basketballer Michael Jordan’s iconic
brand, saw West Indian Marlon Samuels
removed in the quarter-final when
Vettori caught him on the third man
boundary. His 16 from 10 balls to nullify
Bangladesh with seven balls to spare
was vital in Hamilton, and an scorebook
which reads ‘7’ and ‘6’ in Vettori’s runs
and balls columns against South Africa
tells a limited tale given what he faced
entering with 29 runs required off 17
Couple that with 15 tournament
wickets at 18.80, an economy rate of
3.98 and an intangible presence behind
the scenes; it makes a compelling case for
the team MUP (the most unsung player).
There have been few career flashpoints.
The verbals with Faf du Plessis in the
2011 World Cup quarter-final saw him
fined the majority of his match fee, then
many felt his 2008 outburst from the
balcony at The Oval was justified when
New Zealand won after England captain
Paul Collingwood had earlier refused to
recall Grant Elliott when he was barged
over and run out in an ODI.
However, for these incidents to be
almost the extent of his playing vices
speaks volumes for Vettori’s legacy. He
has become respected and marketable
worldwide as a ubiquitous cricketer who
transcends cultural divides. Mention you
are from New Zealand in any restaurant
on the subcontinent and the next
three words are inevitably “Ah, Daniel
Vettori”. He has assumed a mantle once
dominated by Sir Richard Hadlee.
At the 2006 Champions Trophy in
Mumbai a waterfront billboard indicated
his growing impact on the Indian
market. He was advertised holding a
toothbrush as a bat. Within two years he
was part of the inaugural Indian Premier
League and last year became coach of
the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Now
he is expected to expand his mentoring
empire at the Big Bash’s Brisbane Heat.
Perhaps the most extraordinary thing
is how Vettori sur vived 18 years in the
public spotlight while still retaining an
air of mystery. Not for him airbrushed
stories synonymous with women’s
magazines. He and his family have
earned the right to privacy; although
seeing his wife, children and parents
come to the balcony to greet him at the
conclusion of his record 112th test for
New Zealand against Pakistan evoked
equal sentiments of joy and poignancy at
the end of his test career.
Vettori contemplated retiring from
50-over cricket after the last World Cup,
when he stood down as captain. Now we
are faced with what seems the genuine
Vettori’s perseverance rehabilitating
from an Achilles tendon injury that
threatened his career and the steel that
knitted a relatively weak team together
as skipper during 2007-11 are added
hallmarks of determination that led to
It is time to celebrate his ser vices for a
final hurrah before the white picket fence
PICTURE: Getty Images
Eels Reece Robinson scores a try against the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Pirtek Stadium last
Hurricanes sitting in unfamiliar territory
Electric Eels stun Souths
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