It wasn’t a perfect performance from the Hurricanes but was enough to get them a win and a bonus point to boot.
They started off quite well, but the middle of the match was a worry for them. They were, in some cases, their own worst enemies – dropping the ball and giving away silly penalties at some crucial times.
The Kings never gave up and it was a much better performance than last week, their defence was great and they managed to stay in the match right up until the final moments.
It may look like it was an easy, or blown out win, for the Hurricanes but it was far from that. Great running rugby tonight as shown by some of the tries.
The return of captain Dane Coles to the Hurricanes line-up should all but confirm a win for the men from Wellington in their Friday night fixture against the hapless Kings. Join The Roar from 5:35pm (AEDT) for live scores and commentary.
For the three years that the Kings have been in the Super Rugby competition, they have only met the Hurricanes once – a 46-30 defeat in Wellington. It was in that same year that the Hurricanes were last beaten by a South African team when the Stormers gave them a two-point defeat in round 11.
Even after back-to-back wins, the Hurricanes have named numerous changes. Centre Willis Halaholo replaces Vince Aso, All-Black Julian Savea is dropped in favour of Jason Woodward due to fitness and form concerns, whilst lock Michael Fatialofa gains his first start.
In addition rookies Geoffrey Cridge and Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, two up-and-coming superstars of New Zealand rugby, come onto the bench.
Coach Chris Boyd has opened the door for a group of the non-regulars to impress him and has mentioned that he will give Julian Savea the time he needs to freshen up and come back with the form that he rocked at the Rugby World Cup last year.
“He would be the first person to say that he hasn’t been in vintage form, but it’s a long season and we’ve seen touches of what’s coming”, Boyd stated.
“All three of those guys who have come in will be looking to put their hand up and this gives them an opportunity to do that”.
Injuries have become a huge concern for the Hurricanes with Victor Vito, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Reg Goodes and Brad Shields all missing with various niggles and, in some cases, season-ending ones.
However, this should not slow their form down after thumping the Force 41-9 last weekend.
Kings coach Deon Davids has also shed the changes in preparation for a tough encounter against last year’s finalists. There is belief that these changes are warranted given their 33-point defeat last weekend at the hands of the Crusaders.
Sithembiso Sithole and Edgard Marutlulle replace Schalk and Martin Ferreira respectively. CJ Velleman takes the place of Chris Cloete who’s relegated to the bench along with Kevin Luiters who is replaced by Ntando Kebe. Additionally, flanker Stefan Willemse will make a start in front of Thembelani Bholi.
It’s a surprise to see Luiters relegated to the bench after a strong performance in a losing side last weekend. Against TJ Perenara, this may end up being a decision that backfires for the Kings.
The Hurricanes will no doubt be too strong, especially in Wellington. There are good signs for the Kings, as shown last weekend, where they found themselves 10-0 up inside the first 10 minutes, but in the end they will be overpowered.
Hurricanes by 27.