A hat-trick from Julian Savea saw the Hurricanes outclass the Jaguares with a convincing 40-22 bonus point victory in the Super Rugby in Wellington on Saturday.
Savea is definitely back – the winger ran in two first-half tries allowing the home side to enjoy a comfortable nine point lead at half-time.
Head coach Chris Boyd named Savea in his starting lineup after it was reported that the winger was seemingly 'out of form' and was given time to 'step up his game' – the Wellington-born speedster removed all doubts by not only scoring three times but also showcasing his flamboyant skill that he has become known for throughout the rugby world.
Fly-half Beauden Barrett's form from the kicking tee was equally outstanding as the number ten's accuracy allowed the Hurricanes to remain out of the Jaguares' reach.
A seventh minute penalty for the Hurricanes allowed Barrett to get his first attempt at goal, the flags stayed down as his attempt went wide.
Barrett however redeemed himself less than five minutes later after he dived over the try line from nearly six metres out, using the moisture on the surface and his momentum to get him over. Ardie Savea effected a turnover and grubbered the ball through for Barrett to go over, as he also converted his own try making the score 7-0.
Ardie Savea then however saw yellow for collapsing a Jaguares' maul metres from the home side try line. The extra man allowed number eight Leonardo Senatore to power over from close range and with Nicolás Sánchez's conversion scores were level in Wellington at 7-7.
Pressure from Sánchez on TJ Perenara in the 33rd minute gifted Matías Moroni an intercept allowing the outside centre to crash over in the corner after a 65-metre foot race with Ardie Savea, the flanker could only restrict Moroni from getting closer to the posts which proved to be effective as Sánchez missed the conversion.
Blade Thomson drew in two defenders after a perfectly timed pass from Barrett and sent Julian Savea over in the corner for his first try of the season, Barrett made no mistake from a very difficult angle.
If there were any doubts about Julian Savea's form it was certainly laid to rest as the winger glided over the whitewash again only two minutes later. A blindside break from Perenara and a grubber kick from the number nine allowed Savea to use his momentum along with the wet surface – in similar fashion to the Barrett try – to glide over for his second of the match. Barrett successfully converted as the half-time score read 21-12.
The home side advanced up field and had the momentum on their side, however Willis Halaholo took out Moroni without the ball and referee Nick Briant consultated with his TMO he took play back into the Hurricanes' half and Sánchez added the first points of the second half with the penalty conversion to make the score 21-15.
Brad Shields intercepted a pass and ran in for the home side's fourth score but the try was disallowed after full-back Emiliano Boffelli had his foot in touch.
A few phases later the Hurricanes went in for their fourth score this time the try stood as captain Dan Coles went over. The hooker showed some tremendous pace as Barrett kept his record from the tee in tact with the conversion taking the score to 28-15.
Savea rounded off a clinical passage of attack when he dived over in the corner for his third try of the evening. The speedster took an awkward floating pass but rounded off his hat-trick in the 62nd minute with ease. Barrett missed the conversion and the scoreboard read 33-15.
Martín Landajo went in for the visitors' third try, the nippy scrum-half rounding Shields from close range as his try denied the home side's try-scoring bonus point. Sánchez's conversion made it an eleven-point game going into the last ten minutes.
A 79th-minute penalty awarded to the Hurricanes and replacement prop Ben May restored the three try difference between the two sides handing the home team the bonus point, Barrett converting to make the score 40-22 to round off another home win.
Tries: Barrett, J Savea 3, Coles, May
Cons: Barrett 5
Yellow Card: A Savea
Tries: Senatore, Moroni, Landajo
Cons: Sánchez 2
Hurricanes (revised): 15 Cory Jane, 14 Matt Proctor, 13 Willis Halaholo, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Blade Thomson, 4 Michael Fatialofa, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (c), 1 Reggie Goodes
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu’u, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Ben May, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Otere Black, 23 Vince Aso
Jaguares: 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Matías Orlando, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Santiago González Iglesias, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo (c), 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Rodrigo Báez, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Julián Montoya, 1 Santiago García Botta
Replacements: 16 Facundo Bosch, 17 Roberto Tejerizo, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Juan Cruz Guillemaín, 20 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Jerónimo de la Fuente, 23 Joaquín Paz
Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand), Brett Johnson (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)