It's an absolutely wonderful night at the Cake Tin. Partly cloudy, around 20 degrees, with a gentle breeze to cool the players down. Could not ask for any better conditions for today's contest.
The all-time record between the sides is close. In 21 matches, there has been 1 draw, with the Canes winning 11 and the Sharks winning 9. It's a different story altogether when the sides meet in Wellington. The Sharks are winless here since 2010.
Today's referee is Ben O'Keeffe, assisted by Mike Fraser and Rebecca Mahoney, with Aaron Paterson on TMO duty.
The Sharks were impressive in a 20-42 win against the Highlanders at the Forsyth Barr last weekend. They've made just a single change to that starting side, with Boeta Chamberlain replacing Curwin Bosch, who has flown back to South Africa due to personal reasons.
The Hurricanes have made 3 changes to the side that scored late to win 23-26 away against the Jaguares last weekend. Scrafton and Fifita come in, replacing Blackwell and Kirifi. In the midfield, it's big news, with Vince Aso returning to the 13 jersey, replacing Proctor, renewing the devastating partnership that he had with Laumape a few seasons ago. Dane Coles returns with a spot on the bench.
SHARKS STARTING XV: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Lukhanyo Am (C), 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Boeta Chamberlain, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 James Venter, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Ox Nche. RESERVES: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Le Roux Roets, 20 Dylan Richardson, 21 Phepsi Buthelezi, 22 Sanele Nohamba, 23 Jeremy Ward
HURRICANES STARTING XV: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 9 TJ Perenara (C), 8 Reed Prinsep, 7 Gareth Evans, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Asafo Aumua, 1 Fraser Armstrong. RESERVES: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Pouri Rakete-Stones, 18 Alex Fidow, 19 Liam Mitchell, 20 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Fletcher Smith, 23 Billy Proctor
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of this Super Rugby Round 3 clash between the Hurricanes and the Sharks in Wellington.
Garden-Bachop gets the match underway with a kick off toward the Sharks 22.
The Sharks have a put in to the first scrum of the game. It's messy as Notche bobbles the ball, before the Sharks recover and it goes to Mapimpi. He grubbers ahead, but his regather is untidy and the Sharks knock the ball on.
Jordie Barrett makes a break from a move off a scrum inside the Canes half. He's brought down but the ball is recycled quickly to Aumua on the right wing, who runs with purpose! A big collision as he's brought down but play continues. The ball is spread wide, however Laumape throws it too long, into touch.
PENALTY! HURRICANES! BARRETT! 3-0. The Canes win a soft penalty from ruck time and point for the posts. Jordie Barrett makes no mistake from his first attempt of the day.
TRY! SHARKS! SCHOEMAN! 3-5. Brilliant try from the Sharks! Boeta Chamberlain leaves a gentle pass in a gap for Thomas du Toit to run onto. He retrieves it to make the break, passing to his fellow prop who beats the last defender and scores! HANG ON... TMO CHECKING... NO TRY! There was a forward pass from Tambwe in the build up, sadly meaning this beautiful play will count for nothing.
TRY! SHARKS! TAMBWE! 3-5. No doubt about the try this time. Perenara has his pass intercepted inside the Sharks 22 by Lukhanyo Am. He sprints his way to the other end and throws a pass to Tambwe who was in support. Try time!
CONVERSION! SHARKS! CHAMBERLAIN! 3-7.
The restart goes deep, as Chamberlain returns it but can't find touch. Ruben van Heerden was offside in the kick chase, so the Hurricanes are awarded a penalty inside the Sharks 22 which they opt to scrum from.
A few penalties in a row mean O'Keeffe gives the Sharks a final warning. Canes scrum from 5 metres out.
TMO having a look at a potential try. The ball squirted out the scrum to Fifita who dived over the line, but replays show that he was offside. Hurricanes had advantage so play restarts with another penalty.
TRY! HURRICANES! GOOSEN! 8-7. At last the Canes score. Clean ball from the base of the scrum to Laumape. He shifts to Barrett, who has the vision to spot Goosen in space out wide and the winger goes over untouched.
CONVERSION! HURRICANES! BARRETT! 10-7.
TRY! SHARKS! PAUL! 10-12. The Sharks hit straight back. A lovely set play near halfway puts Nohamba into space and he breaks, with Tambwe in support to carry it further. The Sharks remain patient and after 7 phases, Tyler Paul gets close enough to squeeze over for the try.
CONVERSION! SHARKS! NOHAMBA! 10-14. Nohamba takes over the kicking duties, and sees his wobbly old kick go through.
TRY! HURRICANES! LAUMAPE! 15-14. It's a cross kick from Barrett which is so nearly intercepted. Had it been reeled in, a Sharks try would've been imminent, but instead, the ball falls to Laumape, who sprints all of 50 metres, drifting past the final defender with ease, to score!
CONVERSION! HURRICANES! BARRETT! 17-14. The Canes fullback has no trouble converting this one from the sideline.
Last stitch defence from the Canes. Sharks were moving the defence across the field with ease, creatin space out wide on a number of occasions. Jordie Barrett and Gareth Evans combine to tackle Esterhuizen into touch, just 5 metres from the line.
Bad news for Boeta Chamberlain, who has failed his HIA and won't return. The Sharks are now out of backline reserves.
Fifita penalised for incorrect entry to the maul. Nohamba will have a shot at goal.
PENALTY! SHARKS! NOHAMBA! 17-17. Just outside the 22, and on a slight angle, Nohamba pushes his kick inside the right upright to level matters up.
Oh dear. Garden-Bachop collects a high ball with plenty of time. He pauses and decides to throw it inside but it's a treacherous pass to Liam Mitchell who knocks it on at his own 40 metre line.
Ward is asked to chase a little dink kick but it beats him into touch inside the Hurricanes 22.
HALF TIME. HURRICANES 17 - 17 SHARKS. An entertaining first half comes to an end, with the teams tied up. All to play for in the second half.
The second half is underway, as Nohamba kicks off, shanking it into the Canes 22.
A cross kick is fielded by Ben Lam, who then puts it on the boot. He chases his own kick to make the tackle and then force a turnover for holding on. Touch is found at the Sharks 22.
TRY! HURRICANES! LAM! 22-17. Scintillating from BIG BEN LAM! A clearance kick from the Sharks that didn't find touch and Lam was screaming for the ball in centre field on halfway. He gets it and rampages toward the defence, slicing through like a hot knife through butter and sprinting over for the try!
CONVERSION! HURRICANES! BARRETT! 24-17. Simple conversion effort made by Jordie Barrett.
Walker-Leawere is penalised for being offside from a Barrett up-and-under bomb. Nohamba will have a shot at goal from around 40 metres on the angle.
It's a clean strike from Nohamba but accuracy isn't on his side this time.
It''s a penalty just on the Canes side of halfway but quite central. Jordie Barrett licks his lips and decides to step up to have a long shot at goal, although about 10 metres shorter than his already famous kick from last week. It''s not going to be a replica unfortunately, as his kick falls short and to the right of the poles.
TRY! HURRICANES! LAM! 29-17. Garden-Bachop gets clattered as he attempts a cross kick, but it's executed well enough. The contest in the air is between Nohamba and Lam. The Sharks player looked to have gotten in front but Lam snatches it away with one hand. He has a couple of players to beat but has plenty of confidence, backing himself all the way and doing enough to slide his way to the corner!
CONVERSION! HURRICANES! BARRETT! 31-17. A classy kick from the touchline to convert the try.
A turnover from a maul on halfway, as Fassi gets caught upright by the Canes kick chase.
Barrett is penalised for holding on. Schreuder goes quickly, with Notshe running off him in support to carry it into the Canes 22. The last man is forced to make a tackle and he does so brilliantly, causing Notshe to knock the ball on.
The Hurricanes are penalised for interfering with the Sharks lineout jumper. Nohamba puts the ball in the corner for another Sharks lineout, 5 metres out.
The ball is stolen at the front of the lineout, as replacement scrumhalf looks to clear. His kick is charged, with Garden-Bachop forced to clear from deep. The Sharks bring it back under advantage and get the penalty, but make nothing of it after taking it quickly.
The Sharks defence look to disrupt the Canes clean ball with a broken line but are penalised for offside, allowing Garden-Bachop to kick for the corner.
TRY! HURRICANES! COLES! 36-17. The Hurricanes look to set the maul and the Sharks side of it disintegrates quickly, as the veteran All Black gets his hands on it to pounce over for the try.
CONVERSION! HURRICANES! BARRETT! 38-17. Another superb kick from Jordie Barrett, who converts from the right touchline.
The Sharks turn it over with good counter rucking inside the Canes 22 but a loose ball is thrown wide and into touch.
TRY! SHARKS! MAJOLA! 38-22. A perfect throw from Dane Coles slips straight through the hands of Walker-Leawere and into the welcoming arms of Craig Burden. He takes it into contact close to the line, with Majola running onto quickly recycled ball to score.
No luck with the conversion from out wide.
The Sharks have another opportunity to attack straight away, kicking a penalty to touch in the corner.
It's another steal from a defensive lineout. Liam Mitchell makes this one and the ball is cleared. The Sharks go quickly, but Fassi throws a stinker of a ball in midfield which goes miles forward. Canes will have a scrum on halfway.
A bit of pinball here, with a charge, a knock on, another knock on... Eventually the ref blows for a Sharks penalty, with Aso in an offside position.
Messy ball around a Sharks ruck sees a little knock on from Notshe, near the Canes 40 metre line.
After some strong running from the Canes, the ball falls back on the side of the Sharks with a retreating Nohamba scragged by the collar and taken to ground. Dane Coles dived in to make a tackle on the already tackled Nohamba and is penalised. Disappointing for the Canes, who had the Sharks on the backfoot, seeking the bonus point try.
The Sharks are given a penalty as the siren sounds. Nohamba puts it in touch around 6 metres from the line.
It's another penalty to the Sharks after a few phases of play. The Sharks will tap and go.
FULL TIME. HURRICANES 38 - 22 SHARKS. The home side come out on top with a dominant performance. Without the injuries, it could have been a different story for the Sharks but they were always going to struggle in the second half.