Match-winning Hurricanes captain and flanker Ardie Savea will have to rely on video clips to enjoy his last-minute try that produced a 33-32 win over the Blues in Super Rugby Pacific on Saturday.
Coming back from 14-32 down in the last nine minutes, the Hurricanes punished the Blues for their inability to put the game beyond reach.
With two minutes left after they got to 26-32, the Hurricanes gained the ball from the restart, put themselves in a good position in midfield, and moved the ball through prop Ben May to centre Bailyn Sullivan. He raced through a gap and passed out to Savea on the wing, and he headed the Blues' defence to run around behind the posts to ensure the victory.
Instinct took over for Savea.
"To be honest, I just pinned my ears back and just ran," he said.
Savea said he never felt the game was beyond the Hurricanes' reach.
"I've been in many of those situations before with the 'Canes and the All Blacks. It's just learning to stay calm in those situations, and being able to bring the boys in, and focus on the next task, and doing it with intent," he said.
The performance of his older brother Julian also drew some attention.
"If anyone has been through the wringer, it's the Bus [Julian Savea's nickname]. To see him come back from France, and to see him working hard and doing the mahi…it's showing on the field."
Sullivan, who joined the Hurricanes from the Chiefs this year, made an early impression on his captain.
"It took me about half an hour of [a] backs' unit session on my first day of pre-season, looking at that boy and thinking, 'What have we got here?'
"[He's] Just an unbelievable athlete. Quick, great skill set, awesome distributor as we saw in the final quarter, and just a good young kid. We've got a good one there," he said.
For the Blues, it was a step back to disappointments in the past when games slipped from their grip.
It wasn't as if they were not aware of the Hurricanes' ability to hang in and stay alive in games.
Coach Leon MacDonald said: "We spoke through the week around how they will hang in there, and won't go away, and will keep coming.
"We've been here before, and we've just got to sit on a rocky seat for the next four hours back to Queenstown and dwell on it.
"Credit to them, they just kept chucking stuff at us and managed to get there in the end which was pretty heartbreaking," he said.
Exacerbating MacDonald's disappointment was the fact the Blues played out their game-plan. Their forwards had been good in several areas, and he didn't think too many tweaks were necessary.
He wasn't sure if the postponement of their opening game against Moana Pasifika meant they missed the benefit of match play.
"We just dropped the ball at the end," he said.
It was raining tries this week! Here’s the standings after round 2— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) February 27, 2022
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