February 14, 2015
Hurricanes bring down Lions in season-opener
The Hurricanes opened their Super Rugby campaign with a hard-fought 22-8 victory over an error-ridden Lions side at Emirates Airlines Park on Friday.
Johan Ackermann's men had more than their fair share of chances to win but were made to pay for poor decisions by a clinical 'Canes outfit.
The New Zealanders will be buoyed by this away win ahead of a trip to Loftus Versfeld next week, which will further test their 2015 credentials.
Marnitz Boshoff had a nightmare opening spell as three missed penalty kicks were accompanied by a heavy knock while tackling Julian Savea.
It resulted in the 'Canes leading 3-0 on 20 minutes after Beauden Barrett made no mistake off the tee. This after the Lions had dominated.
The home side struck back two minutes later however as after a series of strong carries, the ball was fed wide to the right sideline where wing Ruan Combrinck was on hand to finish well. Unfortunately for the Lions, replacement fly-half Elton Jantjies could not add the extras.
Barrett had no such trouble when he landed his second penalty on 27 minutes after a scrum offence as the 'Canes led against the run of play.
Their lead would grow five minutes before the break too as from arguably their first serious attack, Jason Woodward's carry and offload to TJ Perenara saw the busy scrum-half dive over after TMO confirmation. Barrett missed the kick but suddenly the 'Canes were 11-5 clear.
Boshoff would reduce the arrears on half-time though, which gave the Lions something to build on in the second-half as they trailed only by three.
After the break it was a similar story for the Lions as they failed to convert possession into points, which their visitors in turn managed to do.
Barrett was on-target on 53 minutes to make it 14-8, which was how it remained until 74 minutes when he then landed a knockout blow to the Lions, who had ample opportunities to kick points of their own heading into the last quarter.
And the gloss was duly added by replacement wing Matt Proctor as he claimed a late try to rub salt into Lions wounds, with the Hurricanes rightly delighted with their opening performance.