Hurricanes find form to crush Force in Super Rugby
The Wellington Hurricanes swept to a 41-6 win over the Western Force on Friday as they finally hit the sort of form that took them to last year's Super Rugby decider.
The Hurricanes scored six tries to nil in perfect conditions at Palmerston North, plundering 31 points in the second half as the Force faded after a promising start.
The result extends Wellington's winning streak over the Perth side to eight matches and provides a confidence boost after a shaky start to the season.
"We had to grind away. In the second half we kept our intensity up," captain Dane Coles said. "We knew if we did that we could open the game up like we did."
The early exchanges were a contrast in styles as the Hurricanes' star-studded backline ran the ball and the Force forwards patiently worked for territory.
The Hurricanes should have had two tries in the first 10 minutes but handling errors let them down and the Force went ahead through a Peter Grant penalty.
Coles, in his first match this season after an injury lay-off, hit back for the Hurricanes in the 25th minute, crossing for a try from a line-out to make it 10-3 at the break.
The gap narrowed to 10-6 soon after the restart and another opportunity went begging for the Hurricanes thanks to Ross Haylett-Petty's try-saving tackle on Vaea Fifita.
The visitors' defence finally cracked to allow a second try when James Marshall capped off a sweeping backline move that took the ball the width of the field.
TJ Perenara then put the result beyond doubt with the Hurricanes' third, set up by a surging run from Willis Halaholo.
It became a rout as the Hurricanes tore apart the tiring Force defence, with Blade Thomson, Ngani Lauampe and Ardie Savea notching five-pointers, the last from a line-out drive.
© 2016 AFP