Waratahs bloom to end Hurricanes winning streak
Dave Dennis from the New South Wales Waratahs scores a try on June 11, 2011 - by Greg Wood
The Waratahs played one of their best matches of the season to deny the Hurricanes five tries to three in a 69-point breathless thriller to get their season back on track.
The Hurricanes had been the competition's form team, winning their previous four games, and looked set to continue on their winning way when they exploded to a 24-7 lead after 27 minutes.
But the home side fought back to go in at half-time level at 24-all and were never headed in the second half scoring two more tries.
It was the first time the Waratahs had claimed a four-try bonus point over a New Zealand team in three years and they remained unbeaten at home in five games this season.
The Hurricanes lost the lead in the New Zealand conference to the Waikato Chiefs and they slipped to third behind the Canterbury Crusaders.
The Waratahs moved to within one point Australian conference leaders ACT Brumbies following their bonus-point victory.
The match was in the balance at 24-24 before winger Matt Carraro charged onto an inside ball from fly-half Bernard Foley in the 54th minute to score his first try in Super Rugby.
Two penalties from Hurricanes fly-half Beauden Barrett kept the Kiwis in striking distance before replacement back-rower Stephen Hoiles crossed and Foley kicked a decisive penalty four minutes from fulltime to clinch victory.
Foley finished with a personal haul of 19 points from a try, four conversions and two penalties as the Waratahs finally rediscovered their attacking mojo after scoring just five tries in their previous five outings.
"There were a couple of defensive lapses early and we made it hard for ourselves," Waratahs skipper Dave Dennis said.
"But every time we held the ball we got in behind them and I thought we stuck to our shape well and to win against the Hurricanes is a good result for us."
Captain Conrad Smith said it was a tough loss to take for his Wellington side.
"We had opportunities, we did well in the first half and we just missed a couple of chances in the second half and they attacked really well and scored points and we couldn't keep up," he said.
The Hurricanes are away again in Australia next week against the Melbourne Rebels, while the Waratahs have a bye.