The Hurricanes pummeled the hapless Rebels 71-6 after scoring 11 tries in Wellington on Saturday.
The half-back pairing of Beauden Barrett and TJ Perenara were instrumental in the dismantling of the Rebels, with some perfectly weighted chips, short passes and excellent vision, the duo creating four tries between the two of them.
The Rebels started well after being 6-0 up in the first 17 minutes by putting the Hurricanes under a lot of pressure at the ruck time with Reece’s Hodge’s boot punishing the Hurricanes from all over the park, but they couldn’t keep up the intensity and eventually succumbed to the Hurricanes extraordinary skill.
The win sees the Hurricanes tie with the Chiefs at the top of the table on ten points after two consecutive bonus-point wins. The Rebels leave the game with nothing but bruised knees and egos.
The first points of the game came through Rebels centre Hodge after Hurricanes prop Jeffery To’omaga-Allen was caught offsides at the ruck, meaning the Rebels led the game 3-0 two minutes in. The Wallaby added to his score moments later when the home side conceded a penalty in their own 22 metre which was a gift for the centre and easily put the ball over.
Hurricanes had an opportunity to score when Perenara kicked a beautifully weighted chip over the defence which he collected and ran into Rebels territory, where they were given a penalty after Nic Stirzaker tried to pluck the ball from the Canes side of the ruck illegally. The Hurricanes took a quick tap and were about to score before Perenara knocked it on, on the line.
The home side would get their first try when the Hurricanes were in a good attacking position. Perenara flung it wide to Beauden Barrett who drifted across field, dragging the opposition defence with him before giving an inside pass to Nehe Milner-Skudder to score under the posts, for the best possible welcome back to Super Rugby.
The chip kicks were working well for the Canes as Barrett put another one in behind the line for Vince Aso to grab. The rookie winger collected the ball despite fierce competition from the opposition and scored. After Barrett’s conversion it was 14-6 to the Hurricanes.
Ngani Laumape scored his side’s third try of the match when the Hurricanes had a scrum on the five-metre line, centre field. The home side gestured as though they were going to go blind but instead the number 12 ran a strong line on the shoulder of the scrum, where the ball was popped to him and barreled over the line. Barrett’s kick for was charged down.
Aso then nabbed his side’s fourth try of the match when the Hurricanes broke from deep in their half. Perenara was given the ball running wide where he drew the cover defence before giving a pop pass to Aso, the winger then ran up the field before the second wave of cover defence, and gave it back to Perenara and then the scrum-half gave it back to the winger for his second try. The home side led the Rebels 24-6.
It became child’s play for the ‘Canes as they scored their fifth try of the match with Matt Proctor went over for the try after the mercurial fly-half Barrett sent a long pass over the defence for the 13 to score. The half ended 31-6 to the Hurricanes.
The Hurricanes perpetuated their momentum into the second half when Julian Savea got his first whiff of the ball and made a break, going one-on-one with the full-back before handing off to his brother Ardie Savea to score.
The home side couldn’t keep themselves off the score sheet as they scored this time through rookie number eight Reed Prinsep after he was given the ball close to the line before barging over. Minutes later Julian Savea finally got his own try after some quick interplay from the Hurricanes as they scored a team try, finished off by the All Blacks winger.
The Rebels tried to get back into the by playing the Hurricanes at their own game and spreading it wide but they just didn’t have the skill to compete and couldn’t get momentum going after a slew of handling errors.
Milner-Skudder then got his second try of the game when he swan dived over the line for the score and moments later the full-back was over again, after an injection of pace from Jordie Barrett took the Rebels by surprise and sent the ball out to the 15 to score. Making his side’s tally 64-6.
Laumape grabbed a brace for himself when the inside centre snatched the ball against the run of play against the Rebels to score the intercept try.
The Hurricanes ended the game with another searing break but couldn’t finish off the move, not that it mattered, as the they had already smited their opponents, grabbing five points from the fixture before they play fellow table toppers the Chiefs in Hamilton next week.
Tries: Milner-Skudder 3, Aso 2, Laumape 2, Proctor, Ardie Savea, Prinsep, Julian Savea
Cons: Barrett 6, Black 2
Pens: Hodge 2
Hurricanes: 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Vince Aso, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Reed Prinsep, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Jeffery To’omaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (c), 1 Chris Eves
Replacements: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Ben May, 18 Mike Kainga, 19 Mark Abbott, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Otere Black, 23 Jordie Barrett
Rebels: 15 Jack Debreczeni, 14 Marika Koroibete, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Tom English, 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 9 Nic Stirzaker (c), 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Jordy Reid, 5 Lopeti Timani, 4 Steve Cummins, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 James Hanson, 1 Cruze Ah-Nau
Replacements: 16 Pat Leafa, 17 Tom Moloney, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Culum Retallick, 20 Jake Schatz, 21 Ben Meehan, 22 Sione Tuipulotu, 23 Ben Volavola
Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)
Assistant Referees: William Houston (Australia), Cam Stone (New Zealand)
TMO: Aaron Paterson (New Zealand)