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'Canes absorb the Cats
'Canes absorb the Cats
(Hurricanes win in the battle of the Fatties)
The Hurricanes emerged battered and bruised last night from a gruelling, and occasionally bloody encounter with the Cats.

It was difficult to see the influence of former Otago coach Laurie Mains, as the visitors engaged the Hurricanes in a dour forward battle, starving them of 70% of the possession throughout the game.

The early onslaught, saw the Cats take a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.

Fortunately the Hurricanes, in front of a packed Palmerston North Showgrounds, took advantage of brief periods of broken play in the first half to run in four tries, two to winger Tana Umanga (back from suspension with an increasingly-eccentric hair-do), one to Jason O'Halloran and another to top Super 12 try-scorer, fullback Christian Cullen. The try-scoring blitz meant that, despite very rarely actually holding the ball in the first half, the Hurricanes were up 29-13 at the end of the first 40.

The second half was a niggly affair. Apart from brief bursts of inspiration from Japie Mulder, the Cats appeared to forget about their backs, and concentrated on using their fat men to move the ball up the field.

As a result, the Hurricanes were forced into defensive mode for the second time in a week, often preferring to kick the ball back to the Cats rather than run it. This strategy resulted in one try to the visitors, and could have resulted in more, had the Cats actually used their backline (what were you thinking, Laurie?).

An increasingly-frustrated Hurricanes side began to give away penalties at crucial times, the most sickening being prop Kevin Yates' sending-off for landing six punches into his counterpart on the ground, just as the Hurricanes were making some in-roads into the Cats' 22 (the man deserves to be out for the rest of the season, despite what the silly Japie might have said about his mother).

Another penalty to the Cats, meant the score was locked-up at 29-23. The home team defended for their lives in the dying minutes to secure maximum points. In the end, the visiting South Africans had played dull ten-man rugby, had made 159 rucks and mauls (compared to the Hurricanes 50-odd), had 61% of the possession, and still came away with no competition points. Serves them right, really.

The Hurricane juggernaught moves on to the shiny new Westpactrust Stadium next Friday night to play the under-performing Blues. Needless to say, the 'Canes will kick some serious Auckland (does anyone really give a gonad about the America's Cup?) booty, and Courtenay Place will be pumping to the sounds of pleasantly drunk football fans attempting to dance to the hits of Vengaboys. Ya gotta love this town.


Let us know what you think!

Finally a staunch Wellington supporter writing for Rugbyheads! Welcome to the team Ben, keep up the good work...
As for the game, damn I wish I had some of those Wellington forwards in my Fantasy Rugby team, their tackle count must be HUGE!
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(Although it could have just been on the Reload button doing some serious ego padding!)