The Hurricanes’ class shone through to overcome a spirited Reds side 34-15 in Brisbane on Saturday.
After two early Julian Savea and TJ Perenara tries the Reds looked dead and buried until the Brisbane men fought back and scored two tries of their own through Chris Kuridrani and Scott Higginbotham.
It seemed as though the Reds had enough fire to rein the Hurricanes in, until a Vince Aso try took the game just out of their reach before Jordie Barrett and his brother Beauden hammered in the final nails in the Reds’ coffin.
One negative for the Hurricanes was an injury to Ardie Savea, with the All Blacks back-row receiving treatment and clutching his leg late in the contest.
The Hurricanes keep their third place spot in the highly-competitive New Zealand Conference while the Reds stay at third place on six points in the Australian Conference.
The Hurricanes owned the first twenty minutes after some quick running play that saw Savea and Perenara cross the line. First after winning the advantage they swung it out wide to Brad Shields who set it up for Savea to dive over in the corner, before the scrum-half intercepted Reds fly-half Jake McIntyre’s pass deep inside his own half and went all the way through to the try line.
Full-back Jordie Barrett was given the tee and kicked both over sweetly.
It wasn’t all good news for the visitors after inside centre Ngani Laumape was given a yellow card, after Kerevi had lost control of the ball and Beauden Barrett lept onto it. He went all the way through to the try line, but the TMO disallowed the score and Laumape was adjudged to have committed a late tackle.
The Reds would get their first points of the game after they took the ball to the Hurricanes line and spread it wide to Higginbotham who produced an incredible offload to Kuridrani to score in the corner with McIntyre missing the posts again.
Higginbotham then set up and scored what could be the try of the season when the number eight had the ball on the right wing, turned his back to the touch line but then off loaded to Eto Nabuli through a back pass. The wing took it upfield and almost scored before sending it back inside to the number eight who touched down. McIntyre finally slotted the kick making the score 14-12 to the away side.
The ‘Canes scored first in the second half after Ardie Savea made an electric break and looked as though he would score himself before being brought down just short of the line. Aso came on the inside line and the rookie winger touched down for his side’s third try.
The Hurricanes looked as though they had scored again after Reds gave it everything they had to get over the line, but the ‘Canes turned it over, Julian Savea kicking the ball up field before the play was finished off by Mark Abbott, or so it seemed. But the lock put his foot on the touchline and it was ruled out.
The ‘Canes were seemingly cursed after another failed attempt when Laumape went over but they were called back for a knock-on.
Perenara looked as though he eventually broke the hoodoo after the away side had a scrum on the Reds’ five-metre line and the nippy scrum-half broke around the fringes to dot downl but the try was remarkably ruled out again.
After what seemed like eternity of the Hurricanes laying siege to the Reds’ line, the hosts broke free and kicked the ball into touch to finally get some breathing space.
But that draining effort cost the Reds late on, as Jordie Barrett ran inside Kuridrani and dotted the ball down to score before his brother crossed for the final try of the match when Beauden Barrett received the ball running at pace to score try number five.
Tries: Kuridrani, Higginbotham
Tries: Savea, Perenara, Aso, J Barrett, B Barrett
Cons: J Barrett 3
Pen: J Barrett
Yellow Card: Laumape
Reds: 15 Karmichael Hunt, 14 Chris Kuridrani, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Jake McIntyre, 9 James Tuttle, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 George Smith, 6 Adam Korczyk, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Stephen Moore (c), 1 Markus Vanzati
Replacements: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Kirwan Sanday, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Lukhan Tui, 20 Hendrik Tui, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Hamish Stewart, 23 Izaia Perese
Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Vince Aso, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara (c), 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Callum Gibbins, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Michael Fatialofa 4 Mark Abbott, 3 Jeffery To’omaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Chris Eves
Replacements: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Ben May, 18 Mike Kainga, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Reed Prinsep, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Otere Black, 23 Pita Ahki
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Nic Berry (Australia), Amy Perrett (Australia)
TMO: Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)