GARETH DUNCAN watched the Hurricanes score nine tries in their 66-24 win over the Rebels in Wellington.
This match was expected to be an exciting attacking spectacle as the Hurricanes have displayed impressive form with ball in hand this season, while a confident Rebels outfit came off back-to-back wins over the Crusaders and Force.
However, it was the hosts who excelled as the visitors crumbled on defence. The Hurricanes recorded their highest Super Rugby tally as they crossed the chalk on nine occasions. Wing Julian Savea grabbed a hat-trick, while fullback Andre Taylor and wing Alapati Leiua completed a brace apiece. Flank Jack Lam and reserve scrumhalf Chris Eaton also dotted down.
The Kiwi scribes have been raving about Savea in recent weeks, especially with his first All Black call-up. So don’t be surprised if you see him make his Test debut against Ireland in June. The physical wing was a strong ball carrier and his finishing was pivotal in his strong performance in this fixture.
The Hurricanes’ clinical build-up play also deserves credit. The interplay between forwards and backs was sharp, and they exposed the Rebels with their offloads in the tackle.
This saw the men from Wellington secure their four-try bonus-point before the 30th minute mark, while they crossed the chalk once more before the break to secure a 38-17 half-time advantage.
The Hurricanes suffered several defensive lapses during the opening 40, and the Rebels capitalised with two tries through wing Cooper Vuna. Flyhalf Kurtley Beale added seven points from the kicking tee via two conversions and a penalty.
But the Melbourne side’s resistance faded in the second stanza. The Hurricanes were solid on attack and defence as they ran in four more tries and kept the Rebels out for most parts of the half. The visitors did manage a consolation score in the final movement of the match as replacement hooker Adam Freier powered through.