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Super 14: Gopperth sparks Wellington to 39-19 win over Waikato 39-19

Super 14: Gopperth sparks Wellington to 39-19 win over Waikato 39-19

Flyhalf Jimmy Gopperth scored one try, set up another and kicked three goals as the Wellington Hurricanes beat the Waikato Chiefs 39-19 in Super 14 rugby Friday.
Gopperth touched down for one of the four tries that gave the Hurricanes a bonus point and a 26-12 lead by halftime and converted three tries from six attempts, silencing critics of his performances in the first two matches of the season.
The Hurricanes scored six tries in all: two to first-half replacements Alby Mathewson and Shannon Paku, and two to All Blacks loose-forwards Chris Masoe and captain Rodney So'oialo.
For the first time this season, the Hurricanes' dangerous counterattacking game clicked into gear and they repaired many of the deficiencies in ball control which let them down in their loss to the New South Wales Waratahs and win over the Queensland Reds.
"We've got a few games under our belts now and the boys are starting to find their confidence," So'oialo said. "We stuck to our game plan and used the ball wisely, played in the right territory, forced the Chiefs to make mistakes and capitalized."
The Chiefs made several mini-revivals after falling behind by as much as 21 points but gave up too many turnovers and lost some of their direction when their captain, Jono Gibbes, left the field with a hamstring injury before halftime.
"It was the story of the whole 80 minutes that we made too many turnovers and the Hurricanes thrive on that," stand-in captain Tom Willis said.
The Hurricanes hit the lead with a try to center Ma'a Nonu after 10 minutes, preserving Nonu's reputation as the best linebreaker in the Super 14. The former All Black ran onto an inside pass from flanker Jerry Collins, who had burst the Chief's defense, and stepped past fullback Sitiveni Sivivatu to score near the posts.
The Chiefs hit back with a 19th-minute try to Liam Messam, but Gopperth retrieved the lead with a brilliant solo try in the 21st minute, dashing through a wide gap in the Waikato defense from an attacking scrum.
Mathewson had been on the field two minutes as a replacement for halfback Piri Weepu when he extended Wellington's lead in the 25th minute, then replacement Paku scored the best try of the match as the last handler in a movement sparked by Collins.
The Hurricanes led 26-5 but Waikato flyhalf Stephen Donald reduced the margin with a try and conversion four minutes from halftime.
Flanker Tanerau Latimer lifted hopes of a Chiefs comeback with a try in the 11th minute of the second half, cutting the lead to 26-19, but late tries by So'oialo and Masoe restored the Hurricanes' supremacy.
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Scores:
Wellington 39 (Ma'a Nonu, Jimmy Gopperth, Alby Mathewson, Shannon Paku, Rodney So'oialo, Chris Masoe tries; Jimmy Gopperth 3 conversions; Tane Tuipulotu dropped goal), Waikato 19 (Liam Messam, Stephen Donald, Tanerau Latimer tries; Stephen Donald 2 conversions). HT, 26-12.


Updated : 2021-06-20 04:58 GMT+08:00