Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service.

Barrett brings his kicking boots for Hurricanes

TJ Perenara of the Hurricanes looks to pass during the round four Super Rugby match between the Hurricanes and the Crusaders. Photo / Getty Images.
TJ Perenara of the Hurricanes looks to pass during the round four Super Rugby match between the Hurricanes and the Crusaders. Photo / Getty Images.

Hurricanes 29
Crusaders 28

There's something to be said for having a gun goal-kicker and Beauden Barrett showed exactly why that's the case at Westpac Stadium last night.

The Hurricanes pivot nailed a perfect seven from seven as Mark Hammett's men breathed life in to their fledgling Super Rugby campaign with a 29-28 triumph over the Crusaders.

It was a game the Hurricanes didn't deserve to win but through five penalties and two conversions from Barrett and tries to outside backs Alapati Leiua and Julian Savea they snatched their first victory of the season through the smallest of margins.

Barrett missed three crucial attempts at goal last week as the Hurricanes lost to the Reds 18-12 and he said it was nice to find his range in front of 12,902 people at the Cake Tin.

"Out here I feel like I'm pretty confident at the moment with the kicking,'' he said after the game.

"Last week in Suncorp Stadium I just didn't feel too confident over the ball so it's bizarre _ sometimes you stand over the ball and feel confident. But out here at the moment I'm enjoying my kicking.''

Three penalties in the final 10 minutes of the first half courtesy of Barrett's right boot earned the Hurricanes a 12-7 advantage at the split and erased the 7-3 lead the Crusaders held after Ryan Crotty scored the game's opening try in the 26th minute.

The second spell was where the game opened up and despite the odd dropped pass both sides came together to put on a fair spectacle.

Tries to Dan Carter, Israel Dagg and Corey Flynn saw the Crusaders enter the final 17 minutes ahead 28-19 but that man Barrett added another long-distance penalty in the 74th to put the Hurricanes within striking distance.

And strike they did as Leiua latched on to wayward Adam Whitelock pass to streak away and score under the posts with five minutes left.

Fittingly, Barrett added the extra two points to give the Hurricanes a lead they would never relinquish.

"We never gave up. We knew we had to score two tries to win so I was thankful when Alapati intercepted that pass because there was going to be a two on one. I was at the back and had my heart in mouth as the ball went through the hands,'' Barrett said.

"But that's rugby - opportunistic try. I think they got a couple so that's how it went, so I'm just happy with the result in the end.''

Carter, who was a perfect four from four with the boot himself, had the chance to win the game with a late drop kick but he put his attempt wide.

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder was left to wonder about a host of missed opportunities from his men as they slipped to their second-consecutive loss of the season, although they did grab two bonus points.

"It's just disappointing to have gifted so many points away,'' Blackadder said. "All those first-half penalties and even in the second half when we got ourselves ahead and we didn't control the game. So it felt like we were on the right track, we just never got the result we were looking for. But we got two points away from home.''

Hammett had a couple of injury concerns from the game with both hookers Dane Coles (ankle) and Motu Matu'u (rib) coming from the field but they would assessed during the weekend.

Hurricanes 29 (Julian Savea, Alapati Leiua tries; Beauden Barrett 5 pens, 2 cons) Crusaders 28 (Ryan Crotty, Corey Flynn, Israel Dagg, Dan Carter tries; Carter 4 cons) HT: 12-7


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