Rugby: Hurricanes tipped over in Cape Town

By Daniel Richardson

Blade Thomson is tackled during the Hurricanes' defeat to the Stormers. Photo / Getty Images
Blade Thomson is tackled during the Hurricanes' defeat to the Stormers. Photo / Getty Images

Stormers 19 Hurricanes 18
The Hurricanes will have to travel home from their two-match tour to South Africa without a win after the Stormers stole a 19-18 victory in Cape Town this morning.

A Demetri Catrakilis conversion with only a few minutes left saw the Hurricanes sink to their second loss in as many weeks to start the Super Rugby season.

After opening their campaign with a 27-9 defeat to the Sharks in Durban last week, where they were dominated up front, the Hurricanes had to bring an improved effort today, particularly at scrum-time.

Coach Mark Hammett went to his experienced players for today's game as he gave John Schwalger a start at tighthead prop, which helped his side produce a better effort at the set-piece during the first spell.

The Hurricanes barely got hold of the game during the opening 30 minutes as the Stormers seemed to set up camp in the Hurricanes' half.

The visitors were guilty of making handling errors at crucial times, while the Stormers lacked the finishing touch.

Against the Sharks last week, the Hurricanes scrambled well on defence and that desperation was on display again today, as they repelled the Stormers whenever a try seemed imminent.

Demetri Catrakilis gave the Stormers a small advantage with a couple of penalties but after absorbing a mountain of pressure, the Hurricanes struck.

Few teams in competition have the ability to conjure scoring opportunities from so little and they grabbed their first try courtesy of a Conrad Smith break.

The captain's pass then found halfback TJ Perenara who delivered a deft grubber kick for Julian Savea to run on to.

A Beauden Barrett conversion saw the Hurricanes hit the front and they extended that lead only a minute before halftime when Hadleigh Parkes produced a well-weighted chip kick that Cory Jane gobbled up to score.

Their late flurry meant the Hurricanes took an unexpected 12-6 lead to the break.

Catrakilis looked to chip away at the lead with another penalty early in the second spell but
Barrett returned serve as the game edged towards the final 20 minutes with the Hurricanes still in front.

Much has been made of the Hurricanes' missing loose forwards, Victor Vito and Brad Shields, but blindside flanker Faifili Levave picked up the slack as he got through a mountain of work on defence.

Hammett stressed the need for his side's defence to improve as they began the season and the Hurricanes showed a heightened effort with their tackling.

A further exchange of penalties led to the Hurricanes maintaining their slender advantage as exciting flanker Ardie Savea entered the game from the bench.

Despite being down 18-12 on the scoreboard, the Stormers didn't quit and they rolled over from a lineout for a late try as Fourie scored.

With the game on the line, Catrakilis calmly slotted the conversion as the Stormers reclaimed the lead.

The Hurricanes then went 16 phases during the final play as they tried to steal it back themselves but ultimately they couldn't produce a miracle.

Stormers 19 (Deon Fourie try; Demetri Catrakilis 4 pen, con) Hurricanes 18 (Julian Savea, Cory Jane tries; Beauden Barrett 2 pen, con) Halftime: 6-12
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