Hurricanes foil Sharks upset with late try

WELLINGTON – The Wellington Hurricanes needed a converted try from centre Ngani Laumape five minutes after the hooter to pip South Africa’s Sharks 38-37 in a Super Rugby thriller at McLean Park, Napier on Friday.

The New Zealand conference leaders were trailing by nine points with two minutes remaining but Ihaia West slotted a penalty and the Hurricanes pack muscled up to build a platform for Laumape to cross the line for his second try of the night.

Flyhalf West, promoted to start after Beauden Barrett failed a late fitness test, still needed to add the conversion to give 2016 champions their fifth straight win and he nervelessly steered the ball between the posts to the delight of the crowd. “That was bloody tough,” said Hurricanes captain Brad Shields.

“They’re a quality outfit. I’m really proud of the way we stayed composed at the end. A win in that style was something different for us.”

The Durban-based Sharks, picking up where they left off in their 63-40 win over the Blues in Auckland last week, scored four tries in a brilliant display of aggressive forward play and powerful running from the backline.