Securing a win was all it was about for the Hurricanes who beat the Jaguares 34-9 on the basis of resolute defence in their Investec Super Rugby game in Buenos Aires.
But at the same time, there was an untidiness about periods of their effort that will keep a check on celebrations knowing the Crusaders await on their return to New Zealand.
That the Jaguares were kept tryless was as much down to their own inability in the patience stakes as to the assuredness of the Hurricanes’ defence.
Up 12-6 at half-time, it was into the 52nd minute before they could claim control of the outcome.
It took a bullocking, block-busting run from right wing Julian Savea, who beat four tackles and then in-passed to halfback TJ Perenara in support. His pass outside was knocked back by his opposite number Gonzalo Bertranou and centre Matt Proctor was in position on the outside to take advantage and run in for the 52nd-minute try.
It was a case of about time for the Hurricanes who had twice been within five metres of the goal-line following penalty kicks to the corner only to be unable to capitalize.
However, the good work was immediately undone by a thoughtless, and unnecessary, charge off the ball by prop Ben May who was yellow-carded for his efforts.
It was symptomatic of the Jaguares’ night that first five-eighths Nicolas Sanchez’s penalty goal attempt was little short of a fiasco, barely getting off the ground, and cleared by the Hurricanes.
Then, with the Jaguares failing to maintain discipline, the Hurricanes were able to relieve more pressure and when first five-eighths Beauden Barrett, who was a calming influence for his 70 minutes on the field, was able to slip a kick into the space behind the Jaguares defences in the 63rd minute, it was replacement centre Vince Aso who grabbed the ball to score.
Before they could celebrate their win after a penalty goal to Jackson Garden-Bachop, who had replaced Beauden Barrett moments earlier, there was a chance for replacement forwards Blade Thomson and Alex Fidow to indulge in a demonstration of their skills.
Thomson charged onto the ball from the re-start and fed Fidow on the wing. He went down, but regained his feet and slipped the ball to Thomson who had remained in support to score.
It wasn’t a match where the Hurricanes had it all their own way. Having been blown off their first scrum feed, the Hurricanes did better at their second allowing second five-eighths Ngani Laumape to charge ahead with the ball at speed. From the ruck, quick ball saw Beauden Barrett execute a perfect inside pass to No.8 Gareth Evans. He raced into space on the angle towards the corner flag and when just short handed the ball on to wing Ben Lam to score.
Laumape had his reward when taking a well-timed pass from flanker Ardie Savea to charge into a gap at speed and his strength and momentum carried him over the line in the tackle but with enough impetus to ground the ball.
The first half was notable for the continuation of the Jaguares’ lineout woes with their first three throws all being taken by the Hurricanes. They did manage a powerful first-up scrum to knock the Hurricanes, a feat the visitors returned later in the first half.
But both sides were afflicted with handling and judgment woes on the attack, especially during the first half for the Hurricanes and throughout for the home team.
Pens: Sanchez 3
Tries: Lam, Laumape, Proctor, Aso, Thomson
Cons: Barrett 3
Jaguares: 15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Bautista Ezcurra, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Tomas Lezana, 7 Javier Ortega Desio, 6 Pablo Matera (captain), 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Marcos Kremer, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Felipe Arregui.
Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Javier Manuel, 18 Juan Pablo Zeiss, 19 Guido Petti Pagadizaval, 20 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Juan Martin Hernández, 23 Sebastian Cancelliere.
Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Thomas Perenara, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields (captain), 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Ben May, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Chris Eves.
Replacements: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Fraser Armstrong, 18 Alex Fidow, 19 Michael Fatialofa, 20 Blade Thomson, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23 Vince Aso.
Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), José Covasi (Argentina)
TMO: Santiago Borsani (Argentina)