Flyhalf Beauden Barrett yesterday steered the Wellington Hurricanes into Super Rugby’s quarter-finals with 18 individual points as his side beat the New South Wales Waratahs 28-17 in Sydney.
Barrett scored a try, set up two others for Julian Savea and Cory Jane and kicked 13 points as last year’s beaten finalists advanced to 48 points in the table.
The Waratahs remained on 39 points and neither the 2014 champions nor ACT Brumbies can head off the Wellington-based side ahead of the final week of the regular season.
The worst place the Hurricanes can finish is fifth, the last playoffs spot available in the Australasian group.
Barrett scored all of the Hurricanes’ first-half points with two penalties and a try after a clever kick ahead from winger Jane had turned the Waratahs’ defense.
The home side, who struggled to get their hands on the ball, finally managed to put together a number of pick and goes near the ruck with massive winger Taqele Naiyaravoro crashing over.
Waratahs flyhalf Bernard Foley, who had converted Naiyaravoro’s try, added a penalty in the third minute following the halftime hooter after the Hurricanes had been penalized three times by Chris Pollock.
The home side moved down field and reduced the gap to 11-10 at the break.
The third penalty had resulted in Willis Halaholo spending the first 10 minutes of the second half in the sin bin and the Waratahs exploited the gap in midfield with Israel Folau crossing to give his side the lead.
Barrett, however, sparked the Hurricanes recovery, setting up Jane for a try, adding the conversion and then a penalty before his long pass put Savea into space to score and give the visitors a 28-17 lead with about 20 minutes remaining.
Crusaders 85, Rebels 26
Sam Whitelock yesterday celebrated his 100th Super Rugby cap with a try inside the opening two minutes as the Canterbury Crusaders destroyed an inept Melbourne Rebels 85-26 in Christchurch to continue their hunt for the New Zealand title.
The seven-times champions had threatened to eclipse the highest score in Super Rugby — having beaten the New South Wales Waratahs 96-19 in 2002 — but dropped their intensity in the final 15 minutes.
The Crusaders moved to 50 points on the table, one behind the New Zealand-conference leading Waikato Chiefs who thrashed the Queensland Reds 50-5 in Brisbane on Friday.
Todd Blackadder’s side had been embarrassed with their poor tactical decisions in heavy rain in the 23-13 loss to the Chiefs in Suva last week and set about dismantling the Rebels from the first whistle.
They were helped by a Rebels side who fell off first-up tackles and turned the ball over constantly with the home team seemingly scoring every time they attacked.
The Crusaders raced to a 33-0 lead inside the first quarter with tries to lock Whitelock, center Ryan Crotty, lock Scott Barrett, prop Alex Hodgman and winger Nemani Nadolo, before Jonny McNicholl gave them a 38-0 lead inside 30 minutes.
It was fitting that the Rebels’ only first-half points came from their own botched lineout following a communication breakdown with scrumhalf Nic Stirzaker scoring under the posts after winger Sefa Naivalu exploited a lazy Crusaders’ defense.
Conceding the try, however, only sparked the home side back into action with Crotty grabbing his second try on the stroke of halftime to give his side a 43-7 lead at the break.
The Crusaders continued their dominance in the second half with hooker Codie Taylor scoring twice within the space of three minutes before he set up replacement loose forward Pete Samu with a delicate pop pass that took out two defenders.
McNicholl and flanker Matt Todd also crossed in the second half, while Rebels center Matt Hodge, lock Culum Retallick and Naivalu grabbed consolation tries.
Lions 57, Kings 21
The Lions ran in eight tries to thrash the Kings 57-21 in an all-South African Super Rugby clash at Ellis Park on Friday.
The win kept the Lions top of the table with 52 points from 14 matches, one ahead of New Zealand’s Chiefs as they seek to secure home advantage through the knockout stages.
The tries came from center Rohan Janse van Rensburg, fullback Andries Coetzee, scrumhalf Faf de Klerk, lock Franco Mostert, hooker Malcolm Marx, replacement back Sylvian Mahuza and wing Courtnall Skosan.
The Kings, who trailed 17-10 at halftime, responded with touchdowns by scrumhalf James Hall, center Stefan Watermeyer and hooker Schalk Ferreira.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7
‘GREAT COMPETITOR’: Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza was tested by American teenager Coco Gauff, before the Spaniard advanced in three sets Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Thursday cruised into the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia by handing their Japanese opponents a rare “double bagel,” a feat matched by US Open losing finalist Victoria Azarenka in the women’s singles. Top seeds Hsieh and Strycova took just 49 minutes to see off the challenge of Japanese duo Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-0, 6-0 on the clay courts at the Foro Italico in Rome. The Taiwanese-Czech duo saved both break points they faced and converted six of 14, winning 62 percent of their first