WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Center Vince Aso scored two tries, made another and had two more disallowed as the Hurricanes overcame a shortage of possession and territory to beat the Sunwolves 43-15 in Super Rugby on Friday.
The winning margin was hugely flattering to the Hurricanes, who lacked possession and were trapped in their own territory for much of the second half.
For the second week in a row — after losing to the Crusaders 33-11 last weekend — the Sunwolves fully stretched one of the tournament's top sides but came away with little to show for their effort.
Aso touched down in the third minute but the try was disallowed for a forward pass, and went over again in the 50th but was called back for a ruck infringement. He finally got on the scoreboard with a try in the 74th, created another for his captain Brad Shields, and scored again in the 79th as the Hurricanes ran in three tries and 17 points in the last six minutes.
While the Hurricanes somehow scored seven tries to two, it was their defense and not their attack that was the difference between the teams. They denied the Sunwolves any reward for long periods in possession and on attack, then managed to break out and snatch a substantial win with a barrage of late tries.
"She was a tough battle," Shields said. "The Sunwolves showed up to play and ... we had to defend for long periods of time. Our scramble (defense) was really good."
The Japanese side troubled the Hurricanes from the start, scoring the first try of the match after Aso's first was disallowed. They led 10-7 midway through the first half but the Hurricanes scored immediately before and after halftime to break out of a tight tussle and lead 26-10.
The Sunwolves then camped in the Hurricanes half and denied them possession but were able to break through only in the 68th with a kick-and-chase try to winger Kenki Fukuoka. At the end, the Sunwolves enjoyed 60 percent of possession and 67 percent of territory.
"We suffocated them with possession but we just couldn't get over the line so all credit to them," said Sunwolves captain Peter Labuschagne, who was also their first try-scorer.