March 17, 2023
Another eye-catching display from teenage son of a gun Max Jorgensen hasn't saved the NSW Waratahs from a worrying third Super Rugby Pacific defeat from four starts to open the season.
With skipper Ardea Savea on a mission in his return from suspension, the Hurricanes kept the Waratahs scoreless for much of the second half en route to a 34-17 victory in windy Wellington on Friday night.
But 18-year-old Jorgensen certainly couldn't be blamed for the Tahs' latest loss, which leaves Darren Coleman's 2022 quarter-finalists behind the eight-ball early in the race for the playoffs.
Thrust into the fullback hot seat after debuting on the wing, Jorgensen posted his fourth try from as many games with a powerful finish late in the first half to give the Tahs hope after 35-year-old Nemani Nadolo opened the scoring at Sky Stadium.
But two tries in five minutes from winger Kini Naholo and halfback Cam Roigard and another from veteran All Black hooker Dane Coles left the Waratahs playing catch-up from 22 points down.
Capping an impressive performance, busy No.8 Langi Gleeson bagged a consolation late five-pointer in what would have given new Wallabies coach Eddie Jones more food for thought ahead of this year's Rugby World Cup in France.
The Waratahs led early but goalkicking proved the difference at halftime as the Hurricanes went to the sheds leading 17-12.
While Waratahs five-eighth Ben Donaldson managed only one from two difficult shots in the opening 40 minutes, All Blacks superstar Beauden Barrett slotted a penalty and converted both of the Hurricanes' tries - from Kini Naholo and halfback Cam Roigard, who both ended the match with doubles.
"Look, I thought the effort in our first half was really up there. We probably weren't clinical enough around our exits, which was was disappointing," said Waratahs captain Jake Gordon.
"Then in the second half, much of the same.
"Our bench did a great job with two tries putting us back into the game, but definitely not clinical enough tonight."
The Waratahs' road doesn't getting any easier. They host unbeaten table-toppers the Chiefs next week at Allianz Stadium.
Hurricanes 34 [Cam Roigard 2, Kini Naholo 2, Dane Coles 1 tries; Jordie Barrett 3 con, 1 pen] Waratahs 17 [Nemani Nadolo, Max Jorgensen, Langi Gleeson tries; Ben Donaldson 1 con] HT: 17-12
HURRICANES (1-15): Xavier Numia, Asafo Aumua, Tyrel Lomax, James Blackwell, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Devan Flanders, Du’Plessis KirifI, Ardie Savea (c), Cameron Roigard, Brett Cameron, Kini Naholo, Jordie Barrett, Billy Proctor, Julian Savea, Josh Moorby
RESERVES: Dane Coles, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Pasilio Tosi, Dominic Bird, Braydon Iose, Jamie Booth, Aidan Morgan, Bailyn Sullivan
WARATAHS (1-15): Tom Lambert, Mahe Vailanu, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Ned Hanigan, Taleni Seu, Charlie Gamble, Michael Hooper, Langi Gleeson, Jake Gordon (c), Ben Donaldson, Nemani Nadolo, Lalakai Foketi, Izaia Perese, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Max Jorgensen
RESERVES: Tolu Latu, Sateki Latu, Dan Botha, Lachie Swinton, Will Harris, Harrison Goddard, Tane Edmed, Mosese Tuipulotu
Referee: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant referees: Angus Mabey, Marcus Playle