Flyhalf Beauden Barrett dived on a loose ball with a little over 11 minutes remaining to score a try that sealed the Wellington Hurricanes’ first Super Rugby title with a 20-3 victory over South Africa’s Lions yesterday.
Barrett pounced after confusion by the Lions inside their own 22m area to give his side a 17-point advantage, while he added 10 points from the boot in terrible weather conditions.
Hurricanes winger Cory Jane also scored a try in the first half as the home side’s impressive defensive line speed ensured they sealed the title in front of a delirious sell-out crowd of 34,973.
Flyhalf Elton Jantjies kicked the visitors’ only points with a first-half penalty as the Lions struggled against the yellow-and-black wall of defenders.
Both sides had endured more than 20 years of pain prior to reaching yesterday’s final.
The Lions had perennially been South Africa’s worst side in the competition and were even relegated from Super Rugby in 2013 before rebuilding through the domestic Currie Cup.
The Hurricanes had romped through last year’s competition and were heavy favorites to clinch their first title, only to fall apart in the final against the Otago Highlanders.
However, this year’s team, with only six players who started last year’s final starting yesterday, were not going to let lightning strike twice. The Hurricanes line speed on defense, which has been clinical since the competition resumed following the June international break, was in the face of the Lions’ playmakers, with Jantjies constantly harried.
He was restricted to shovelling the ball to runners outside him and kicking for territory to try to put the Hurricanes under pressure.
The home side managed to take a 10-3 lead into the break, courtesy of a Barrett penalty and a converted try to Jane that came about through their relentless defense inside the Lions territory when center Lionel Mapoe kicked the ball straight back to the winger.
Jane crossed for an earlier try after a cross-kick from Barrett, only for TV official Ben Skeen to rule it out for a knock on in the buildup.
Barrett added his second penalty after halftime to extend the lead to 13-3 before he pounced when the Lions failed to clear the ball from a defensive lineout to seal the win.
The NBA said was re-evaluating its training program in China following allegations of abuse of young players by local staff and harassment of foreign staffers at a facility in Xinjiang. The comments come after a report by ESPN that quoted unnamed American coaches as saying that Chinese coaches hit young players. One American coach who worked at a camp in Xinjiang complained of harassment by local police, the sports network said. “The allegations in the ESPN article are disturbing,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said in an e-mail statement on Thursday. “We ended our involvement with the basketball academy in Xinjiang in June
Taiwan Steel on Sunday grabbed three points with a narrow 1-0 win against Hang Yuan FC, to move into the No. 2 spot on the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) log, while Taipower FC beat NTUS 2-0 to maintain first place. Taking advantage early in the match of opposition defenders who had not yet settled down, Taiwan Steel’s attacking trio of Wu Chun-ching, Marc Fenelus from the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Benchy Astama from Haiti pushed forward with good passes. After only one minute of play, Fenelus dribbled from the right flank, feeding a short pass inside the penalty area to
LEAVING IT LATE: Rakuten added late runs last night to add to wins on Wednesday against the Brothers and the Lions on Friday that went down to the last batter The Rakuten Monkeys rallied to post three late runs for another close win, prevailing 5-3 over the Uni-President Lions yesterday as Taiwan’s second-half CPBL season got started with lower scoring output, but exciting finishes. It was Rakuten’s third win in a row. In two games this week, they seized victory in dramatic fashion with their last at-bat and have drawn level with the CTBC Brothers on top of the table after yesterday’s results, 0.5 games in front of the Fubon Guardians and 1.5 games ahead of the Lions. It was tied at 1-1 early, with Rakuten hosting the Lions at the Taoyuan Intenational
STAYING COOL: Hamilton said that his ‘heart nearly stopped’ when he noticed the puncture, but he kept going to beat Alain Prost’s total of six home wins in France Lewis Hamilton said he feared he might not make it home when a last lap puncture almost derailed his charge to a record seventh British Grand Prix victory on Sunday. “I didn’t think I would make it round the last two corners,” the world champion said. The front left tire of his Mercedes had delaminated and deflated on his final lap, leaving the six-time world champion to nurse his vehicle to the finish as second-placed Max Verstappen hunted him down. “I just can’t believe it,” Hamilton said. “It was heart-stopping. I backed off and stayed chilled and was so glad it happened on