TJ Perenara equals Super Rugby try-scoring record in Hurricanes’ victory over Chiefs

David Skippers
TJ Perenara Hurricanes v Blues SRP 2024 - Alamy.jpg

Hurricanes and All Blacks scrum-half TJ Perenara.

Hurricanes scrum-half TJ Perenara got his name into the record books in Wellington on Saturday when he scored two tries in his side’s 36-23 win over the Chiefs to draw level with Julian Savea as Super Rugby’s all-time leading try-scorer.

It was a memorable day for the 32-year-old as he crossed for five-pointers either side of half-time to help the Hurricanes notch their seventh successive victory of the season.

The Hurricanes‘ other points came via tries from Brayden Iose, Kini Naholo and Asafo Aumua while Brett Cameron finished with an 11-point haul after slotting four conversions and a penalty.

For the Chiefs, Cortez Ratima and Emoni Narawa crossed the whitewash with Damian McKenzie slotting two conversions and three penalties.

Click here for scorers

The result means the men from Wellington are the only team who have not tasted defeat in Super Rugby Pacific yet this year and they are now sitting comfortably atop the standings on 32 points – five more than their closest rivals, the Blues and Brumbies.

Perenara‘s excellent attacking performance performance was a timely reminder to new All Blacks head coach Scott Robertson of his ability, especially after fellow Hurricanes scrum-half Cam Roigard was ruled out for the rest of the season with a serious knee injury sustained in a one-sided win over the Highlanders in Dunedin last month.

The Hurricanes took an early lead courtesy of a Cameron penalty against the Chiefs, before Perenara went over for his 61st Super Rugby try in the 17th minute.

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This, when he barged over the Chiefs’ try-line from close quarters after Iose was stopped just short off the back of a scrum on the visitors’ five-metre line in the build-up.

The Chiefs eventually opened their account when Ratima crossed for his try shortly afterwards but the home side regained the initiative when Iose dotted down on the hour-mark.

The visitors finished stronger, however, and two penalties from McKenzie meant the Hurricanes held a slender 17-13 lead at the interval.

After half-time, the Chiefs continued where they let off in the first half when McKenzie added his third penalty in the 48th minute before Narawa scored their second try soon after that.

Hurricanes fight back

That gave the Chiefs a 23-17 lead but the Hurricanes fought back and were rewarded when Perenara crossed for his 62nd Super Rugby try in the 58th minute.

The experienced number nine showed his class as he rounded off a flowing move when he gathered a pass from Josh Moorby after Peter Lakai, Billy Proctor and Naholo had all done well in the build-up.

That meant the hosts were back in front with the score 24-23 in their favour and they continued to dominate during the game’s final quarter as Naholo and Aumua went over for their tries during that period to clinch the victory.

The teams

Hurricanes: 15 Ruben Love, 14 Josh Moorby, 13 Billy Proctor, 12 Jordie Barrett, 11 Kini Naholo, 10 Brett Cameron, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Brayden Iose, 7 Peter Lakai, 6 Brad Shields (c), 5 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 4 Caleb Delany, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Asafo Aumua, 1 Xavier Numia
Replacements: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Pouri Rakete-Stones, 18 Pasilio Tosi, 19 Justin Sangster, 20 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 21 Devan Flanders, 22 Richard Judd, 23 Peter Umaga-Jensen

Chiefs: 15 Shaun Stevenson, 14 Emoni Narawa, 13 Daniel Rona, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Etene Nanai-Seturo, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Cortez Ratima, 8 Wallace Sititi, 7 Luke Jacobson (c), 6 Samipeni Finau, 5 Tupou Vaa’i, 4 Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 3 Reuben O’Neill, 2 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 1 Aidan Ross
Replacements: 16 Bradley Slater, 17 Ollie Norris, 18 George Dyer, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Kaylum Boshier, 21 Xavier Roe, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Rameka Poihipi

Referee: James Doleman (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Jono Bredin (New Zealand), Fraser Hannon (New Zealand)
TMO: Chris Hart (New Zealand)

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