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Hurricanes pushed by Cats

By By Brenton Vannisselroy

Published: 9:36PM Friday February 24, 2006 Source: ONE Sport

The Hurricanes made it three wins from three, but only after a hard-fought 29-16 battle with a spirited Cats side at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Friday night.

The Hurricanes were not able to secure the points until the final minute of the encounter when Isaia Toeava crossed the line.

A first half double from Lome Fa'atau gave the home side a 19-10 lead at the break that they were pushed hard to hold on to before finally sealing the win.

Lome Fa'atau opened the scoring for the Hurricanes in the fourth minute from a delightful backline movement.

From a Hurricanes' lineout, the home side spread the ball and after a wide pass from Ma'a Nonu, young All Black Isaia Toeava offloaded wonderfully on to a flying Fa'atau and the Samoan winger scored under the uprights.

Veteran David Holwell slotted the simple conversion to give the Hurricanes a 7-nil lead.

Flyhalf Tiaan Snyman left the field after the Hurricanes try, forcing the Cats into a backline reshuffle.

The visitors had an opportunity to put some points on the board after being awarded a penalty in the Hurricanes 22, but back-up goalkicker Earl Rose was unsuccessful from a handy angle.

However, Rose was successful with his second penalty attempt after Tana Umaga was incorrectly penalised for a head-high tackle.

The Cats then hit the lead after a try to midfielder Grant Esterhuizen after some great work from Springbok halfback Enrico Januarie.

Januarie darted down the blindside after some quick ruck ball and provided Esterhuizen with the perfect ball to score the Cats' first try of the season in the left corner.

Rose converted and midway through the first half the Cats deservedly led the Hurricanes 10-7.

After a scrappy period of play the Hurricanes attempted to put a dazzling backline movement together five minutes before halftime, but they were thwarted by an early tackle on Toeava short of the Cats' line.

From the resulting penalty the Hurricanes set a maul and powerfully drove towards the try line before Chris Masoe dived over from short range to regain the lead for the Hurricanes.

Holwell converted and the Hurricanes hit the lead, 14-10.

The Hurricanes then increased their lead after capitalising on a Cats' mistake as Fa'atau scored his second after breaking from halfway.

Holwell failed to convert but the Hurricanes took the 19-10 lead at halftime, a flattering scoreline against a spirited and competitive Cats outfit.

The Hurricanes started the second half as the finished the first and only the television match official was able to deny Jason Eaton a try in the left corner.

Holwell started the second half scoring with a 45th minute penalty after a period of Hurricanes pressure inside the Cats' 22.

Both sides held tight in defence in the opening exchanges of the second spell, not allowing the opposition any half gaps to create try-scoring chances.

The Cats were finally rewarded for their hard work 17 minutes into the second half when Rose slotted a penalty from right in front of the uprights to narrow the margin to nine points.

The match continued to be a tight tussle as neither side were unable to gain the necessary ascendancy to add to their score.

The Cats were then awarded a 78th minute penalty to give them a chance of moving closer towards snatching the win and Rose was successful with the shot at goal to bring the Cats within six points.

The Hurricanes then hit back immediately from the kickoff to secure the points on the final whistle as a bewildered Toeava scored under the posts, after the referee stopped play but then after consultation with his touch judge awarded the try.

The final play of the game secured a bonus point for the Hurricanes while denying the Cats a point that they deserved after a strong display.

Hurricanes players Rodney So'oialo and Paul Tito have been cited for allegedly stamping or trampling early in the match.

Hurricanes 29: Tries: Lome Fa'atau (2), Chris Masoe, Isaia Toeava Cons: David Holwell (2), Jimmy Gopperth Pens: David Holwell
Cats 16: Tries: Grant Esterhuizen Cons: Earl Rose Pens: Earl Rose (3)
MVP Points: 1. Rodney So'oialo 2. Jason Eaton 3. David Holwell

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