RYAN VREDE reports on the Hurricanes’ 46-19 victory over the Force in Perth.
You know that aunt that talks all the time but actually says nothing? This was the Force. The Perth franchise completely bossed possession and territory but were so impotent at the gainline and so static or lateral and predictable in their attacks that the Canes simply fanned out and waited from the next unimaginative play. When the Force erred the Canes were clinical in taking their opportunities, particularly from broken field. Five chances, five tries. Thanks for coming.
The talk from the Force’s camp this week was about staying compact and direct in their attacks. Patience through phases was stressed and high-risk play deep in their half discouraged. The Force, however, looked every bit a team struggling to suppress their natural instinct.
When they played through phases effectively they looked like they would be comfortable winners. But they botched numerous scoring opportunities while in the Canes’ 22m.
The Canes, having come into this match off the back of extensive travel, didn’t ever look like building pressure through structured play. Their primary threat was from broken field and, when, following a turnover, Canes fullback Andre Taylor cut through the defence from within his 22m and made about 60m in a move that culminated in a try for impressive debutant scrumhalf TJ Perenara, their preferred method was made clear.
The Canes are two from three with a couple of home matches to come. They are defying expectations following the departure of a string of All Blacks. For the Force its more of the depressing fare their supporters have become all too used to.
The Force’s troubles extended to their tactical kicking, which was largely imprecise and fed the Canes’ back three with counter-attacking opportunities. The hosts did score through Matt Hogson, but then conceded two tries in five minutes just before the break to leave them trailing 22-10 going down the tunnel.
The Canes effectively sealed the result and four-try bonus point 10 minutes into the second half, this time a scrappy backline move featuring ugly hacks ahead somehow ending in Perenara grabbing a hat-trick.
Two Stannard penalties made it a 10 point game with 20 minutes to play, but Canes reserve Daniel Kirkpatrick put the Canes two converted tries ahead with a three pointer. Cameron Shepherd came close to reducing the deficit but he was bundled into touch in a move that should have stayed close to the breakdown point of the previous phase. That was the best rebuttal the Force could muster, the Canes’ Jason Eaton and Charlie Ngatai rubbed salt into their wounds with late tries.