April 7, 2017 / 9:43 AM / 9 months ago

Rugby - Hurricanes use powerful first half to beat Waratahs

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - The Wellington Hurricanes were able to use a scintillating first half to record a 38-28 victory over the New South Wales Waratahs in their Super Rugby clash on Friday, even with All Blacks flyhalf Beauden Barrett sent off for two yellow cards.

The home side had been ruthless in the first half, despite Barrett spending 10 minutes in the sinbin for a cynical knockdown of a pass, to score five tries and run up a 33-7 lead.

The flyhalf was then sent off for a second yellow card for the same offence with two minutes remaining.

Ngani Laumape (two), Barrett, his younger brother Jordie, winger Wes Goosen and lock Mark Abbott all scored tries for the home side, with fullback Jordie adding four conversions.

Loose forward Ned Hanigan, fullback Bryce Hegarty, scrumhalf Jake Gordon and replacement Andrew Kellaway all crossed for the visitors, with flyhalf Bernard Foley converting all four.

The visitors had been awful in the first half as they missed tackles, did not pick up runners in the line and were unable to exit their own territory with aimless kicking.

At times, the Barrett brothers looked like they were playing in their backyard in rural Taranaki, instinctively knowing what the other was going to do with each setting up the other’s try with passes that drifted across Waratahs defenders.

The Sydney-based side managed to get on the board after Barrett was sinbinned for a deliberate knockdown that Marius van der Westhuizen deemed was cynical and loose forward Hanigan barrelled over from a quick tap penalty.

The home side held out the Waratahs for the rest of the time they were reduced to 14 men but once the flyhalf returned, he set up winger Goosen before Abbott pounced on a loose ball from a Waratahs defensive lineout to give them a 33-7 halftime lead.

The visitors struck back twice early in the second half through Hegarty and Gordon to narrow the deficit to 33-21.

The home side, however, settled the frenetic pace down and went through the forwards to gain field position but did not score again until Beauden Barrett made another midfield break and fed to Laumape to score his second try.

Kellaway then scored his try as the visitors battled back into the game before Barrett received his second yellow card, though the home side were able to hold out to improve their record to five wins and one defeat.

The defeat was the fifth in seven matches for the Waratahs.

Editing by John O'Brien

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