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Ken Borland

Barrett lands a winner for Hurricanes

Posted on March 04, 2012 by Ken

Twenty-year-old flyhalf Beauden Barrett kicked a 78th-minute penalty to give the Wellington Hurricanes a 30-28 (half-time 14-8) victory over the Gauteng Lions in their SuperRugby match at Ellis Park on Friday.

Barrett, who was man of the match in last weekend’s defeat by the Stormers, reaffirmed his reputation as a top-class prospect as he kicked three other penalties and also played a key role in the Hurricanes’ third and final try.

The 2011 IRB Junior World Championship winner put through a deft grubber, which wing Corey Jane ran on to, holding off opposite number Deon van Rensburg to score the try and complete a crucial two-try burst in three minutes midway through the second half for the visitors.

Centre Conrad Smith had moments earlier kicked through a dropped pass by the Lions and then rushed on to the bouncing ball and manufactured a brilliant crossfield kick-pass for hooker Dan Coles to complete the try.

“I do enjoy my soccer, so it was great to get a chance to show my skills. But really, it was more because I couldn’t see myself running another 30 metres with the ball and I heard someone shout outside me. I just didn’t realise it was the hooker,” Smith joked afterwards.

The two tries put the Hurricanes in firm control at 27-18 up but, after conceding a penalty to Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies, they then made a complete hash of defending a rolling maul, allowing the home side to storm back into their territory. From a ruck close to the tryline, the strength of replacement centre Butch James allowed him to barge over the line.

Jantjies converted to give the Lions a 28-27 lead, but with nine minutes still remaining, it was obvious the Hurricanes would fight hard to regain the lead.

The Lions were unfortunate to lose two props – JC Janse van Rensburg and CJ van der Linde – to injuries in the first half-hour, leading to uncontested scrums and the neutralisation of one of their main weapons. The Hurricanes were thus under no pressure at the set-piece and, having dominated the breakdowns, were able to rumble the ball upfield in the closing minutes, eventually catching the Lions backline offside and allowing Barrett his match-winning kick at goal.

“We were scrumming very well and it made the contest different – we couldn’t add pressure and take energy out of their legs through that route. But we should have finished the contest, we had the opportunity and we just weren’t very smart,” Lions coach John Mitchell told a news conference after the game.

The Lions had scored the opening try in the ninth minute when fullback Jaco Taute reached over in the left corner, after Hurricanes scrumhalf Chris Eaton had dropped the kick-off following Barrett’s opening penalty.

Barrett added two more penalties in the first half, before the Hurricanes went into the break 14-8 up after fullback Andre Taylor had squeezed over in the right corner, the visitors having stretched the Lions’ defences to the limit.

“I’m really pleased, we planned well and we have a very fit team. Playing on the highveld can eat away at you, but I knew the boys would last for the last 25 and they showed great composure too,” Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett said.

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