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Rebels blown away in Wellington

26th May 2012 06:10

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Julian Savea

Hat-trick hero: Julian Savea

The Hurricanes cruised to a 66-24 Super Rugby win over the Melbourne Rebels at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Saturday.

Winger Julian Savea bagged a hat-trick as the hosts ran nine tries past their weak trans-Tasman opposition, with fly-half Beauden Barrett converting all of them as well as a penalty for a personal haul of 21 points.

Andre Taylor and Alapati Leiua posted doubles for the rampant hosts, while Cooper Vuna scored a brace himself for the Rebels who added a five-pointer after the full-time siren via veteran hooker Adam Freier.

The bonus-point victory kept alive the Hurricanes slim hopes of making the play-offs as they moved to 40 points and into seventh place on the overall standings.

For the visiting Rebels, their hopes of achieving three consecutive victories for the first time in their history were dashed by a poor defensive effort and their chances of qualifying look even more remote.

With livewire scrum-half TJ Perenara influential, the Hurricanes allowed the Rebels little time to attack.

When they did, the men from Melbourne made the most of them with Vuna scoring twice in the opening forty minutes - the first after carving through the Hurricanes line and the second from an intercept.

But it was never going to be enough against a fired-up Hurricanes outfit whose powerful tackling gave them ample turnover ball to set up their try-scoring blitz that paved the way for the side's highest Super Rugby tally.

The Rebels won last year's clash in Melbourne 42-25 and another high-scoring match looked on the cards after Vuna sliced through some weak Hurricanes defence for the game's first try after barely seven minutes.

After exchanging penalties the Hurricanes levelled at 10-10 with a try in the 20th minute that's sure to make the highlights reel.

Perenara flicked a backhand pass to centre Tim Bateman, who as he was being tackled over the sideline got a ball away to full-back Taylor who dived across the line.

From that point it was all downhill for the Rebels.

Leiua crossed for the Hurricanes second touchdown after showing great handling skills to haul in Bateman's kick behind the flat Rebels defence, before Savea crossed twice in a matter of minutes for the bonus point.

Vuna then bagged his brace after the restart, but Jack Lam scored from turnover ball to restore the Hurricanes' margin as the hosts went into the half-time sheds 38-17 ahead.

The Hurricanes scored almost immediately after the resumption with Leiua's second try coming after Victor Vito had set the Rebels back with a 40-metre run.

Savea benefited from a long Perenara pass for his third try before Taylor, the competition's leading try-scorer, crossed for his second to give him 10 for the season.

A try to replacement scrum-half Chris Eaton had the Hurricanes up 66-17 before Freier picked up a consolation third try for the Rebels on full-time.

The scorers:

For Hurricanes:
Tries: Taylor 2, Leiua 2, Savea 3, Lam, C Eaton
Cons: Barrett 9
Pen: Barrett.

For Rebels:
Tries: Vuna 2, Freier
Cons: Beale, Kingi
Pen: Beale

Hurricanes: 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Conrad Smith (c), 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben May.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Reg Goodes, 18 James Broadhurst, 19 Brad Shields, 20 Chris Eaton, 21 Tusi Pisi, 22 Jayden Hayward.

Rebels: 15 Julian Huxley, 14 Mark Gerrard, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Lachlan Mitchell, 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Gareth Delve (c), 7 Tim Davidson, 6 Luke Jones, 5 Hugh Pyle, 4 Cadeyrn Neville, 3 Jono Owen, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Nic Henderson.
Replacements: 16 Adam Freier, 17 Rodney Blake, 18 Al Campbell, 19 Tom Chamberlain, 20 Richard Kingi, 21 James Hilgendorf, 22 Stirling Mortlock.

Referee: Jonathon White (New Zealand)

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