Rugby: Hurricanes shock Force at Brisbane 10s

Nehe Milner-Skudder in action for the Hurricanes during their unlikely win over the Force. Photo / photosport.nz
Nehe Milner-Skudder in action for the Hurricanes during their unlikely win over the Force. Photo / photosport.nz

The opening day of the inaugural Brisbane Global 10s rugby tournament has been marked by upsets, extreme heat, and an extraordinary come-from-behind victory by the Hurricanes.

In the Suncorp Stadium cauldron where temperatures reached well over 40degC, it was the so-called minnows who enjoyed the early success, with the Rebels upsetting the Chiefs, Japan's Panasonic Wild Knights beating the Waratahs, and the Western Force putting immense pressure on tournament favourites the Hurricanes until a Cory Jane-inspired finish by the Super Rugby champions.

Jane's late intercept sealed a 17-12 victory for the Hurricanes after the Wellington-based side were quickly down 12-0 against an inspired Force team.

And while the Chiefs suffered a surprise loss to the Rebels in the tournament opener, they bounced back with a 24-14 victory over the Waratahs, the Sydney team making the surprise decision to rest Wallabies star Israel Folau.

A try from All Black Liam Messam, who had the honour of scoring the first one of the tournament, sealed it for the Chiefs, who looked far more comfortable in their second match.

The tournament, organised by Duco Events and held in conjunction with New Zealand Rugby and their Australian counterparts, featured some sublime passing and tackling, but also a fair amount of early-season rustiness. Electric fans were set up in front of the team's benches on the sidelines in an effort to cool the players, all of whom appeared to suffer under the blazing sun.

It was difficult to tell how many people were in the stadium, with the vast majority of the crowd seeking shade wherever they could. The mistakes were obvious and plentiful in the shortened form of the game which is more structured than the helter-skelter of sevens.

The Blues should have picked up a victory over the Reds, skipper Matt Duffie scoring a late try under the posts to even the score at 17-all, only for the conversion to sail wide. Declan O'Donnell and Billy Guyton scored first-half tries for the Blues.

The Crusaders and Highlanders set the early pace, with the red and blacks beating Samoa 12-7 thanks to tries to All Black Seta Tamanivalu and Jed Brown, and the Highlanders also looked good in winning their first match against the Brumbies 14-7.

James Lentjies and Rob Thompson scored first-half tries for the Highlanders, with Nigel Ah Wong scoring a converted try for the Brumbies after the break.

The Brumbies enjoyed a big possession advantage in the second half, but couldn't make it count, a common theme as all sides made uncharacteristic mistakes and referees were quick to penalise high tackles following World Rugby's crackdown.

In one of the biggest upsets of the opening day of the two-day tournament, the Panasonic Wild Knights beat the more favoured Waratahs 15-5.

The Wild Knights, coached by Robbie Deans, controlled possession in the second half after the score was tied 5-5 at halftime.

A converted try gave the Wild Knights the advantage after the break and then former Wallaby Berrick Barnes nailed a huge drop-kicked penalty to put the game out of the Waratahs' reach.

- NZ Herald

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