The Kings have kept matters closer than expected in Wellington, where the Hurricanes picked up a bonus point victory.
After leading 29 – 16 at half time, the Kings kept themselves in the game, with the match still being a contest at 23 – 29 with fifteen minutes to play. The Hurricanes finished well though to win 46 – 30.
The Hurricanes scored their bonus point try in the first half already, but seemed to go to sleep for the first 25 minutes of the second half, where the Kings took advantage to bring the match back to a six point game. The classy Canes put the matter beyond doubt with two further tries, breaking Kings hearts and bringing up a somewhat flattering scoreboard.
The Kings showed improvement from their match against the Crusaders, where they were caught ball watching and not getting stuck in. This match saw another Kings defensive effort but from the get go, which did make life difficult for the Hurricanes. Beauden Barrett still had to kick two penalties as the Kings kept coming at them, which is a great respect to them.
Impressive performances from Steven Sykes, Demetri Catrakilis and Ronnie Cooke will give the Kings confidence going into the Australian leg of the tour. Sykes was a stalwart in the lineouts while Catrakilis was again good with the boot, becoming the first Kings player to score 50 points in Super Rugby. Cooke, along with fullback George Whitehead, were the only backline players who managed to get over the advantage line. One or two more direct runners, and perhaps a start for Waylon Murray, might see them gain more meters.
The Hurricanes stay at home and host the Waratahs next weekend and the Kings travel to Canberra to take on Jake White’s Brumbies.
By Richard Ferguson