Commanding Performance by Black
Manawatu Turbo Otere Black led a commanding performance last night in the Hurricanes 32-21 win over a high-flying Crusaders team.
Given his chance in the starting first-five jersey, Black filled the boots of a virus stricken Beauden Barrett in a way which will put a smile on many a Blues supporter’s face.
After a slow start, in which the Crusaders scored twice through wing Seta Tamanivalu, a reshuffled Hurricanes backline began to come to grips with their makeshift combinations – punching over the advantage line in wider channels when the Crusaders defence looked impenetrable closer in.
Black showed just how dangerous a first-five can be when carrying in two hands, half piercing the line before slipping it to Jordy Barret on the angle to score the opener in front of an expectant Hurricanes crowd. Black followed this up with a pinpoint cross field kick to Julian Savea, who dotted down to put the Canes in front.
Where the younger Barrett resumed his goal kicking duties, Black’s kicking out of hand was consistent. He also managed his depth well enough to allow fellow Turbo Ngani Laumape to take the physical assault to the Crusaders midfield. Nehe Milner Skudder also looked like he was regaining match fitness, comfortably slotting in at fullback after being shifted from the right wing just before kick-off.
Although he will be disappointed in their first loss of the Super Rugby season, prop Michael Alaalatoa should be heartened by the fact that the Crusader’s scrum still looks to be the best in the competition.
Ultimately, the performance put in last night by the Hurricanes, has been rewarded by a much shorter journey to Canberra in the first round of the finals. However, it will be mates vs mates next weekend for Alaalatoa and captain Haiden Bidwell-Curtis as their Crusaders are set to take on an in form Jackson Hemopo and Kane Hammington for the Highlanders.
All the best to our Turbo boys next weekend!