The BNZ Crusaders were beaten 29-19 by the Hurricanes on Saturday night in Wellington.

The Hurricanes, on home soil for the first time in the Investec Super Rugby competition in 2018, scored only a 50m Jordie Barrett penalty goal in the second half, but equally the Crusaders could score only one try in spite of vastly increased possession compared to the first half.

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credit: photosport.co.nz

No Hurricane had more cause for satisfaction than prop Chris Eves. He scored the first try, played a key role in the second, performed on both sides of the front row and while conceding two key penalties compensated for that by contributing around the field.

Compounded by the early loss of second five-eighths Ryan Crotty and captain and lock Sam Whitelock, the BNZ Crusaders took until the last 10 minutes of the first half to regain some momentum. In light of the injuries, the effort of new Crusader flanker Heiden Bedwell-Curtis reflected the determination in the side with a fine all-round effort in the loose.

It was from an uncontrolled bobble of contested ball at a lineout on their own line the Crusaders conceded the first try when Eves had the ball drop into his hands. He put his head down to drive over after four minutes.

Eves was back in the action, this time slipping a perfectly-weighted short pass to fullback Barrett who flew onto the ball, through a gap and cut back across toward the corner before flinging a pass inside where Perenara had followed up to claim the bouncing ball and the try.

Then in the 21st minute, after being under pressure in their own 22m area, Perenara swooped on a dropped ball before passing out to Beauden Barrett whose long pass found wing Ben Lam. The former All Blacks Sevens player demonstrated his speed when bursting into another gear to go around fullback David Havili and score the try which took the score to 21-0.

It took a powerful surge by BNZ Crusaders hooker Codie Taylor to finally create a try scoring chance on the right flank. He got the ball to wing Manasa Mataele and his determination got him over the line.

The Hurricanes hit back when a Mitch Hunt kick was charged down by Hurricanes skipper and flanker Brad Shields and it was centre Matt Proctor who got the rebound to score.

The Crusaders looked to be gaining some momentum in the 36th minute, when their lineout drive was executed to perfection for flanker Jordan Taufua to score.

That proved the inspiration for the Crusaders, who started the second half by resorting to lineout drives on the back of the Hurricanes being penalised at scrum and breakdown situations. It resulted in a 55th minute try for prop Michael Alaalatoa which got the Crusaders to within seven points, but also had the benefit of sapping the strength from the home pack.

However, defensive strength and pressure denied the Crusaders and although the game went well beyond the 80-minute mark, it was the Huricanes who took the points with a 10 point victory.

Scorers: Hurricanes 29 (Chris Eves, TJ Perenara, Ben Lam, Matt Proctor tries; Beauden Barrett 3 con; Jordie Barrett pen) BNZ Crusaders 19 (Manasa Mataele, Jordan Taufua, Michael Alaalatoa tries; Mitchell Hunt 2 con). HT: 26-12
Match report courtesy of www.superrugby.co.nz