The Wellington Hurricanes kicked a record nine penalties as they beat the Auckland Blues 34-20 in yesterday's opening game of the Super 14 season. Fly-half Willie Ripia landed the first five kicks and scrum-half Piri Weepu made four more in the second half as the Hurricanes overturned a 20-12 half-time deficit. The previous record for the most penalties by one side in a Super 14 match was eight, shared by five teams.
Winger Hosea Gear also scored a try in the second half as the Hurricanes racked up 22 unanswered points after the break. "We were a little bit nervous in the first half, but we got our act together in the second half and put a pretty good performance in," said Wellington captain Andrew Hore. Meanwhile, Blues captain Keven Mealamu said his team lacked discipline. "We let the Hurricanes back in with all those penalties in the first half and weren't able to build any pressure," he said.
"In the second half, it just wasn't good enough." Elsewhere, CA Brumbies captain Stirling Mortlock became the first player in Super rugby to break the 1,000-point mark, kicking three conversions and a penalty in their 24-15 win over Western Force. Hooker Huia Edmonds scored a late try to seal the match for the Brumbies. There are four more games today, with the highlight being Waikato Chiefs, who beat the Hurriances in last year's semi-finals, visiting the Natal Sharks.
The Chiefs are looking to go one better than last year, when they were thrashed 61-17 in the final by the Pretoria Bulls. "I think there's great composure around this team at the moment," said the Chiefs coach Ian Foster. @Email:email@example.com