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Hurricanes play dumb to Sharks at the Park
Hurricanes play dumb to Sharks at the Park
(Hurricanes vs Sharks)
17 Mar 2001
The Hurricanes suffered their second loss in a row to a South African team this morning (NZST). The visitors never seemed to recover from having two try scoring attempts disallowed by the video referee early in the first half, staggering to a 39-21 loss. Neither try looked convincing on replay, but Lomu was noticeably upset that his attempt was not awarded.

Often the Hurricanes were guilty of trying to do too much at the wrong time. Rather than using their forwards to move the ball up the field to an attacking position, the backs frequently tried to run the ball from deep in their own half, running into a shallow and effective Sharks defence, resulting in a high number of turnovers.

The Sharks played the smarter game: waiting for the mistakes to be made by their opposites and using kicks ahead to disrupt the Hurricane defence. Using a deft kick from the touchline, halfback Hentie Martens contributed to what appeared to be an easy try by wing Steven Terblanche. It was obviously a rehearsed move and one which put the Sharks in front. They never looked back.

Although a number of promising attacking moves were made by the Hurricanes in the remainder of the first half, most ended in crucial mistakes and turnovers, one of which led to a second try to Justin Swart. It was not until injury time that Brad Fleming, substituting for Lomu, put points on the board for the Hurricanes. However the good work was quickly undone when a third try was conceded to the Sharks, leaving the Hurricanes trailing 20-7 at halftime.

An early try to Umaga, which came from a set-piece move at halfway, started things well for the Hurricanes in the second ‘40. But the silly mistakes kept coming. Attempting to keep the ball alive in his own ‘22, Lomu threw the ball into play from touch, past Umaga and into the waiting hands of a grateful Shark who dutifully scored. The Hurricanes kept conceding penalties, so that by the time Paul Steinmetz scored the Hurricanes’ second try (almost at full time), they were too far behind to even look like gaining a bonus point, let alone win the game.

Again, the Hurricanes have entertained, but failed to deliver. There is a tendency to take unnecessary risks and run the ball from everywhere, which does not work against a solid, hustling South African defence. The Super 12 seems to be getting worse for the Hurricanes, or perhaps they are just trying not to peak too early?

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The poor old Hurricanes are certainly making it tough for themselves, with their early home loss they have to pick up an away win or two just to stay in the hunt! Of course my boys aren't doing much better, but at least we are 1 from 1 at home!
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