Four of the worst
2001 – Waikato Chiefs 51 vs Wellington Hurricanes 27
The Hurricanes four game winning streak (a regular mid-season occurrence back in those days) and semi-final hopes were effectively dashed by a rampant Chiefs side who weathered an early Canes onslaught to pour on the points in a match that announced the arrival of John Mitchell as a top class Coach and sowed the seeds for his elevation to All Blacks Coach later in the year.
2002 – Auckland Blues 60 vs Wellington Hurricanes 7
Doug Howlett bagged four tries and an unknown winger called Rupeni Caucaunibuca a brace on debut as the Blues ran riot in the first round of 2002 at the Stadium. The Gordon Slater-led Canes had no answer to the pure speed of the Blues outside backs in a result that set major alarm bells ringing at Canes HQ who ended up ninth and well out of playoff contention.
2005 – Crusaders 47 vs Hurricanes 7
The Hurricanes ventured south for their second semi-final in three years full of confidence against a Crusaders outfit who had topped the regular season table and earned a home semi-final. However they were rocked by a ferocious Crusaders start and never in a game which set the theme for Canes teams throughout the 2000’s who always seemed to be unable to avoid one of the great Super Rugby teams in playoff matches.
2011 – Highlanders 14 vs Hurricanes 9
The beginning of the Mark Hammett era was heralded as a fresh beginning with a change of culture promised, however the Hurricanes star studded backline never got going with the game effectively over after Maa Nonu was red-carded for a second yellow offence when he shoulder charged Jimmy Cowan. Local Wellingtonian Lima Sopoaga scored all the Dunedin Franchises points further adding insult to injury.
Tomorrow: The Best of the Canes!