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TOMORROW MAY 4 MONDAY
"Whirlwinds" destroyed much
of Stafford (population five), a
former goldmining township
near Hokitika during a fierce
thunderstorm. The old post
office, 100 years old, was
smashed to the ground, sheds
were wrecked and roofs lost
to the winds.
TODAY IN HISTORY
Aust edges out brave Kiwis
PICTURE: Getty Images
Jesse Bromwich of the Kiwis offloads the ball in a tackle during the Anzac test match at Allianz Stadium in Sydney.
Australia edged to a 16th straight victory
after running down a gallant New Zealand
side to secure an 30-18 win at Allianz
Stadium last night.
Rated as no-hopers before the game, the
Kiwis more than held their own and led
18-12 at half-time before being overhauled
in the second half by a ruthless Kangaroos
side which iced the victory with a Cooper
Cronk try only seven minutes from time.
The win extended the hosts’ unbeaten
record in this fixture to 16 years in front of a
respectable crowd of 25,429 — and equalled
the run of successive victories set by the
1979-83 Invincibles side.
However, the Kiwis can take great credit
from a display that was full of character and
commitment from a side containing five
debutants and bereft of so many star players
due to injury.
Only five who played in the humiliating
34-2 World Cup final defeat last November
were included by Kiwi coach Stephen
Despite their relative inexperience, it did
not take long for the tourists to take the lead
when Jesse Bromwich crashed over from
close range following a smart play from the
excellent Shaun Johnson to keep the ball alive
and earn six more tackles.
But the signs looked ominous when Greg
Bird hit back almost immediately as the
Kangaroos took advantage of an injury to
Sam Moa to scythe through a depleted Kiwi
St George Illawarra winger Brett Morris
then scored in the right corner to finish off a
sweeping move after debutant fullback Peter
Hiku had knocked on.
However, the young Kiwi side refused to
collapse with Dean Whare hauling Greg
Inglis over the sideline with a brilliant tackle
when he looked to score, before Tohu Harris
and the impressive Moa darted over before
the inter val.
The expected barrage of pressure from the
Kangaroos did not reap instant rewards but
Morris crossed for his second try 12 minutes
after the restart with Johnathan Thurston
adding the extras to level the scores.
But the Kiwis would not go away and the
Kangaroos were forced back in their own
half for a sustained period before Johnson
botched an opportunity to give his side great
field position when he failed to find touch
from a penalty.
That let-off re-awoke Sheens’s side with
Inglis crossing on the hour mark following
a third successive set of six and Cronk added
some gloss to the result late with Thurston
completing a flawless night with the boot
with the two-pointer.
Australian coach Tim Sheens said he was
not surprised at the manner of the Kiwis’
performance but claimed his players showed
real character in the second half to wrap up
“ We said before they would come at us, but
predicting it is one thing, stopping it is the
hard thing,” he said.
“ We stemmed the tide after half-time and
played a much better second half.
“ It wasn’t the prettiest game but it was a
“ It was that enthusiasm they had and us
giving away some soft tries elevated them for
the rest of the half.”
Kearney came in for some criticism for the
side he selected but said he did not have a
sense of vindication after a gutsy display from
“The effort and the spirit and energy the
lads played with I couldn’t complain about
it,” he said.
“ It was important after the World Cup to
get some pride back in our jumper and we
“ I knew I had spirited individuals who
played with a great deal of pride.”
Australia 30 (Brett Morris 2, Greg Bird,
Greg Inglis, Cooper Cronk tries; Johnathan
Thurston 5 goals) New Zealand 18 ( Jesse
Bromwich, Tohu Harris, Sam Moa tries;
Shaun Johnson 3 goals). Half-time: 12-18.
Nonu masterclass sets up Blues’ win
The first thing Blues coach
John Kir wan does when he
wakes up this morning might
be to check whether last night’s
game really happened.
Was it a dream or was it not?
Once he has established that it
was not, that his side really did
play with that skill, intelligence,
excitement and commitment
to completely smash the Reds
into the turf of the Eden Park
fortress, he must work on how
to repeat this sort of form away
This was a masterclass from
the Blues, a five-try bonus-point
victory which rockets them into
the top six of the competition
and brought back memories
of the glory days of old. If
they turn in another abject
performance in New Plymouth
against the Chiefs next weekend,
though, the disappointment
among the supporters of the
Blues will be all the more acute.
The Blues are so difficult to
beat at home they really should
be higher up the table than
they are. Their last defeat here
was to eventual champions the
Chiefs in their final match of
last year. This year they have
won all five from home, but,
of course the flip side is that
they have lost all of their away
The pressure must come
on this week to maintain
this momentum, because the
excitement among the Blues
players was palpable last night.
In this mood they will feel they
can beat anyone and the Chiefs
will be right to be wary.
“I ’m going to write that on
the wall in graffiti so we know.
Away, beware,” a very happy
Kirwan said after wards.
“ We need to address it. We
need to sit down tomorrow
and say, we’re going to New
Plymouth, we’re playing away.”
Among Kirwan’s players, Ma’a
Nonu deser ves first mention
because he was at the heart of
just about everything good the
Nonu left the field after 61
minutes, replaced by Ihaia
West, who scored a memorable
50m try on debut late in the
match, but in that time the All
Blacks midfielder set up three
tries, demoralising the visitors
with his power, passing and
The Reds had nothing like
him in their line-up. Quade
Cooper jinked and jived during
his 100th match for the Reds,
but it was mostly behind the
advantage line and counted for
It was Nonu’s head fake
and long pass which set up
Jackson Willison’s try — the
centre tearing his hamstring
in the process — his grubber
kick under the posts which led
directly to Lolagi Visinia’s and
his powerful surge and inside
ball which put Bryn Hall away.
His run later, along with some
excellent work from Frank Halai
and Charles Piutau, was finished
off by Tom Donnelly for the
“ What he’s doing off the field
is incredible,” Kirwan said. “He’s
totally engaged with what we’re
doing and he’s leading.
“ We had a difficult week last
week but Ma’a just put his hand
up and said ‘I’ll do it’.”
There was a real commitment
on defence too, the Reds getting
over the line through prop Ben
Daley after Tony Woodcock
was sinbinned for lashing out
at Reds loose for ward Eddie
It was a fair enough decision,
probably, but the decision by
referee Nick Briant to only sin
bin Reds prop James Slipper for
a dangerous tip tackle on
No 8 Peter Saili probably
was not. Saili, dropped on to
his neck and shoulder area
by Slipper long after he had
passed the ball, was put into
an extremely perilous position.
It would be no surprise to see
Slipper given an extra sanction.
This weekend will be about
the positives for the Blues,
though, possibly until they pack
their bags for their next away
assignment. — APNZ
PICTURE: Getty Images
Bryn Hall of the Blues breaks the tackle of James Slipper of the Reds at Eden Park in Auckland last
The Melbourne Rebels were their own
worst enemy as they handed the Super
Rugby front-running Sharks a 22-16 win at
AAMI Park last night.
The Rebels dominated territory and
possession but let themselves down with
costly handling errors while penalties helped
keep the visitors in the lead.
Melbourne’s defence held firm until the
63rd minute when they again turned over
the ball and the Sharks counter-attacked
and raced downfield, with winger J P
Pietersen touching down.
That blew the lead out to 22-9 with their
earlier points coming from South African
sharpshooter Frans Steyn, who booted five
from five for a 15-6 half-time scoreline.
In their usual fashion, the Rebels team,
which has won six of its last seven games at
home, refused to lay down.
The players hammered the Sharks tryline
and after repeated penalties five-eighth
Bryce Hegarty took a quick tap and fired
a long ball out to reser ve hooker Pat Leafa
who burrowed over the line.
Jason Woodward added the extras but the
clock was against the Rebels, who ran out of
time to find the necessary points.
They kept at it, even after full-time, and
got to within 10m before a penalty for
failing to release the ball.
Woodward made a superb break midway
through the first half, beating six Sharks
defenders and as the Rebels sent the ball
across field they forced a penalty and their
first points of the game.
The athletic fullback added a second
penalty and although they came desperately
close to scoring, with flanker Colby Fainga’a
just centimetres away, could not get across
the tryline until Leafa’s effort.
No South African team had managed
to win in Australia or New Zealand this
season but the competition leaders broke the
mould which followed a shock loss to the
Highlanders last round.
The win will add a little more spice to
their encounter next week with Australian
conference leaders the Brumbies when coach
Jake White returns to face his old team for
the first time.
In the second minute of the match
Hegarty batted a ball dead as Sharks
fullback Lwazi Mvovo attempted to grab it
and touch down however only a penalty was
awarded rather than a penalty try.
White said he was happy with way
his team responded from the early
When the teams met last year in Durban
the Sharks ran in a record 10 tries in a 64-7
thumping which was the worst defeat in
Rebels coach Tony McGahan was
delighted with their defence but said the
result left him “hugely frustrated”.
“ It was a game that we lost ourselves
really,” he said. “ The boys showed
tremendous courage and grit to stay in the
game against the number one side but it was
game that we let slip away from us.” — AAP
Rebels left to rue errors as Sharks bite
PICTURE: Getty Images
Max Lahiff of the Rebels lunges for the tr y line during the match between the Rebels
and the Sharks at AAMI Park in Melbourne.
While people were asking Mark Hammett
why Ardie Savea was not starting for the
Hurricanes, his older brother Julian was
going about having his best season of Super
The barnstorming wing will bring up his
50th appearance for the franchise tonight
against the Waratahs in Sydney and has been
in destructive form this year.
There is no coincidence that his recent
highlight reel moments have coincided with
the Hurricanes’ four-match winning streak,
which has seen them move to the top of the
New Zealand conference.
Such consistency has been rare for the
Hurricanes in the Hammett era but Savea
said they had played their best rugby under
their outgoing coach during the past month.
“ We are playing with a lot of confidence
and that ’s down to the preparation we are
doing during the week,” Savea said. “ We are
not getting too far ahead of ourselves. ”
Savea has made 12 clean breaks this season,
beaten 32 defenders and has also punched in
with 12 offloads.
It seems like nobody can take the All Black
off his feet and, after making his debut for
the Hurricanes in 2011, he said it was nice to
celebrate a milestone outing.
“It’s come a lot quicker than I thought,” he
said. “ It ’s really special to play for the team
that I’ve been wanting to play for all my life.”
It is a team he was rumoured to be leaving
last year though.
Coming off-contract, the 1.93m and 108kg
specimen was linked with a move to the
Crusaders but Savea said such reports were
off the mark.
“I just thought about it really. I was always
going to stay here, this is my home, it would
have been hard for me to leave my family.
“I had a lot of things to think about. We
weren’t performing well in terms of the ladder
and we weren’t winning too many games but
it’s always just about finding confidence. ”
Winning is now part of the Hurricanes’
MO and they need to keep up the pace in a
congested Super Rugby competition.
Nullifying the brilliance of Waratahs
fullback Israel Folau will be an important
task tonight but the home side have quality
throughout their backline with the likes
of Kurtley Beale and the versatile Adam
Hammett ’s side is not short on attacking
quality either and Alapati Leiua’s long-
overdue switch to second-five a month ago
has proved a masterstroke given he provides
considerable punch in the midfield.
The Hurricanes are the form team in Super
Rugby, which is a notable change in fortunes
after they opened the campaign with three
Play-off rugby is something the side can
talk about with a dose of reality now but
Hammett did not think there was any magic
bullet behind their renaissance.
“It hasn’t been about just clicking,”
Hammett said. “It’s been from week one that
we’ve been working towards what we are
trying to achieve on the field.” — APNZ
Savea set to bring up 50
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