Ihaia West was a late replacement for star fly-half Beauden Barrett but kept his cool at the death to kick the Hurricanes to a last-gasp 38-37 Super Rugby victory over the Sharks.
All Black Barrett was ruled out on Friday with a reported foot injury and the Hurricanes looked set for a rare defeat in his absence, but Franco Marais’ yellow card gave the hosts a man advantage and Ngani Laumape’s try was followed by West’s match-winning conversion in the 86th minute in Napier.
The sides traded scores throughout the first half, with Chris Boyd’s charging into a 12-3 lead after Jordie Barrett and Laumape went over, but they were soon trailing after tries from Lukhanyo Am and Louis Schreuder in the space of four minutes.
Vince Aso responded, but Am got his second to put the Sharks 27-19 up at the break as Robert du Preez’s trusty boot delivered time and again.
However, the second half was slower and scrappier and West’s kicking dragged the Hurricanes back into the match, although Tyler Paul’s score seven minutes from time looked to have secured victory for the visitors.
The resilient Hurricanes rallied again, though, and they profited from Marais’ sin-binning at the breakdown when Laumape found space to charge through.
West held his nerve with the final kick of the game to finish with 18 points and clinch a fifth successive Super Rugby win for the hosts.
— Hurricanes Rugby (@Hurricanesrugby) April 6, 2018
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