It’s simply going from bad to worse for the out-of-sorts Cheetahs after they were hammered 61-7 by the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday.
It is the Canes’ biggest ever score against the central franchise as a nine tries to one massacre told the full story.
The Cheetahs, who simply disappeared in the second half, scored their only try by flyhalf Fred Zeilinga in the 25th minute of the first half to trail just 14-7, but the floodgates opened in the second half.
The home side ran in 47 unanswered points, with centers Ngane Laumape and Vince Aso – who helped himself to a hat-trick – causing havoc and breaking the Cheetahs’ brittle defence down almost at will.
Who was the star in this match?
Hurricanes captain and All Black scrumhalf TJ Perenara played a crucial in both his team’s first two tries. First he blocked a quick attempted kick-in from the 22, which led to the try of lock Vaea Fifita. He then also launched a quick throw-in which opened the space for Aso to score two minutes later, while Perenara scored the fourth try himself from close range.
Key moments of the match
- After the Cheetahs initially showed great improvement on defence, where their quick linespeed held the Hurricanes scoreless in the first 17 minutes, they gifted a try to Fifita when a suicidal pass from fullback Clayton Blommetjies was claimed by the Canes lock.
- With the Cheetahs trailing just 14-7 the Hurricanes scored their third try by flank Ardie Savea on the stroke of halftime, while hooker Cheetahs Elandre Huggett was yellow-carded four minutes after the break. It was two incidents that saw them lose any semblance of control.
- The Cheetahs lost centre and captain Francois Venter as early as the 21st minute to a suspected ankle injury. He was replaced in midfield by Niel Marais, who is not a recognised centre. The Cheetahs missed Venter’s leadership.
- It should be a major concern for Cheetahs coach Franco Smith how the Cheetahs showed a lack of intensity on defence in the second half. The players are clearly not working for each other as they need to.
Hurricanes – Tries: Vince Aso (3), Vaea Fifita, Ardie Savea, TJ Perenara, Jeff Toomaga-Allen, Ben Lam, Leni Apisai. Conversions: Beauden Barrett (5), Otere Black (3).
Cheetahs – Try: Fred Zeilinga. Conversion: Zeilinga.