Ten minutes later, Hurricane centre Paul Steinmetz surprised his opposites by displaying a masterful sidestep and cutting through several would-be tacklers, before delivering a well-timed pass to Umaga, which resulted in an easy try to Christian Cullen. Steinmetz had a great evening and it appeared that the Crusaders hadn’t done much homework on the new recruit.
To counter the threat of spontaneous and entertaining try-scoring, the Crusaders began to repeat the winning formula used the week before by the Sharks: kick the ball high deep into their ’22 and wait for the dumb-dumbs to drop it. Norm Hewitt obliged late in the second half and the try was conceded after sustained forward pressure.
But the Hurricanes’ defence and attack improved markedly in the second half, while the Crusaders appeared to need a cup of tea and a little lie down. Three unanswered tries were scored by Steinmetz, Cullen and Lomu, while Paul Tito frequently won the ball off the Crusader’s throw. Late in the second half Mehrtens finally scored for the home team. However this was the only try conceded by what was a remarkably solid and committed Hurricanes defence.
The Wellington hoodoo continues for the Crusaders and the Hurricanes have thrown themselves a lifeline for the Super 12. Special thanks to Murray Mexted and ‘sideline sam’ Stu Wilson for providing such an objective and in-depth analysis of the game on Sky Sport. Those who accuse you of parochialism are only jealous because Wellington is the centre of the universe and its football team are so bloody fantastic.