Reds blown away by Hurricanes
April 26, 2014
Queensland centre Mike Harris is pulled down by the Hurricanes' defence
© Getty Images
Wallabies scrum-half Will Genia was a major casualty as Queensland's flagging Super Rugby finals hopes were unceremoniously blown away by the Hurricanes 35-21 in Wellington. Genia limped off with a worrying ankle injury and halves partner Quade Cooper revived memories of his last nightmare visit to Westpac Stadium after a forgettable second half by the Reds.
Looking a shadow of the team which has won 11 of its last 14 games against Kiwi rivals dating back to their 2011 title year, Queensland were overpowered and outpaced by the Hurricanes. They had little answer to the home side's freewheeling attacking game after fighting tooth and nail to take an unlikely 14-10 lead into half-time.
All Blacks winger Cory Jane scored a hat-trick as the form Kiwi side thrived in the loose nature of the contest, and consistently punched holes up the middle with off-loads. The scoreline flattered Queensland but it could be said they fought all the way to the end in the five-tries-to-two loss, with Chris Feauai-Sautia a shining light.
The Hurricanes moved to the top of the New Zealand conference with a dominant victory (video in Australia only)
Reserve hooker James Hanson barrelled his way over late to give hope but Ardie Savea killed them off by steamrolling Genia's replacement Nick Frisby in the dying minutes. It continued a 16-year drought in Wellington for the 12th-placed Reds and was a despairing third straight loss in skipper James Horwill's 100th match for his state.
"We just missed too many one-on-one tackles and allowed the Hurricanes to get in behind us," Horwill said. "It's incredibly disappointing."
Punished by slow starts in defeats to the Force and Brumbies, the Reds were at least quick out of the blocks with Cooper holding up a beautiful pass for Beau Robinson to send Ben Lucas over. But defensive deficiencies out wide continued to haunt as rookie winger JJ Taulagi twice made bad reads which resulted in a first-half double to Jane.
While Julian Savea was painted as the dangerman, the All Blacks winger was well contained by Feauai-Sautia as Alapati Leauia, Beauden Barrett and Andre Taylor caused the most grief.
In his first match at the Cake Tin since the 2011 World Cup quarter-final, Cooper was guilty of crazy plays and some horrible execution, including a shocking cross-kick that skewed into his in-goal.
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