The Stormers came desperately close to snapping their victory drought in New Zealand, but ultimately could not prevent the Hurricanes from edging out a hard-fought 34-28 Super Rugby victory in Wellington on Saturday evening.
The Hurricanes had to withstand a ferocious physical onslaught from the Stormers, whose powerful pack was superb on the night. The home team, though, countered through their dangerous backline as the 2017 champions ran in five tries to the Stormers’ three.
Wing Wes Goosen ran in two tries in the far right hand corner, following tries from prop Ben May and Jodie Barrett earlier. But the pivotal score was left to All Black superstar and Hurricanes captain Beuden Barrett, who put his team in the lead with just 10 minutes remaining on the clock.
The Stormers had earlier looked good to upset the odds with the barnstorming performance from their pack, who dominated the rolling maul from the lineouts. This led to tries for captain Siya Kolisi, hooker Bongi Mbonambi and replacement flank Jaco Coetzee.
However, the visitors made a crucial mistake right at the end when No 8 Juarno Augustus was penalised for being in-front of the ball carrier just when the Stormers were looking for one final push.
The Stormers will take great heart from this bonus-point defeat into their next match against the Auckland Blues, but will need to assess their injuries after both locks JD Schickerling and Salmaan Moerat were forced to leave the field during the game.
SCORERS IN WELLINGTON
Tries: S. Kolisi, B. Mbonambi, J. Coetzee
Penalties: SP Marais (x3)
Conversions: SP Marais (x2)
Tries: B. May, J. Barrett, W. Goosen (x2), B. Barrett
Penalties: B. Barrett
Conversions: B. Barrett (x3)