Rugby - Late Foley miss hands Hurricanes narrow win over Waratahs

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SYDNEY (Reuters) - New South Waratahs flyhalf Bernard Foley had a bittersweet start to the new Super Rugby season when he missed a simple late penalty chance to see his side slip to a 20-19 loss to the Wellington Hurricanes at the Brookvale Oval on Saturday.

Foley had earlier become the Waratahs' record points-scorer in Super Rugby, but could not win the game for his team after they were awarded a scrum penalty two minutes from time.

He kicked 14 points to go with a try for wing Curtis Rona, but put his crucial late penalty just wide of the posts from almost in front, much to the disappointment of the 17,111 crowd.

Jordie Barrett kicked 10 points for the Hurricanes to go with tries for flank Ardie Savea and debutant loose-forward Du'Plessis Kirifi.

"We had an opportunity to win it there, we were leading for so long in the game. But discipline cost us, you cannot give those kinds of chances to a quality team like the Hurricanes," Waratahs captain Michael Hooper said.

"I'm pleased with some things, but there is a lot to work on as well."

The home side took the lead with an early penalty, Foley’s successful kick seeing him surpass the Waratahs’ Super Rugby points record of 959 held by Matt Burke.

After Barrett levelled the scores, Foley added two more penalties to extend the home side’s advantage to six points, before the Hurricanes grabbed the lead five minutes before halftime.

The visitors put the ball through numerous phases for the first time in the contest as they battered the Waratahs tryline, with Savea eventually barging his way over under the posts.

That lead lasted only a short while though as Israel Folau was intercepted in the air and Foley gave the home side a 12-10 halftime advantage.

That was extended to nine points two minutes into the second period when Folau straightened the attack after the Waratahs had turned over the ball, and put Rona away to score in the corner.

Barrett closed the gap with another penalty and the visitors thought they had a second score for Savea when he barged over from close-range, but the try was disallowed as Kirifi was adjudged to have put his elbow into the throat of Hooper as he drove forward.

But Kirifi made up for his earlier error as he broke free from a driving maul to cross the tryline, with Barrett providing the conversion that put the Hurricanes a point ahead.

(Reporting By Nick Said; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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