Savea's double helps Hurricanes sink Rebels
SUPER RUGBY TRANS-TASMAN REPORT: The Hurricanes kept the New Zealand teams’ flawless record intact with a 35-13 win over Melbourne Rebels on Friday.
*As it happened: Hurricanes v Rebels
Fresh off putting 64 points on the NSW Waratahs, the Hurricanes outscored their Aussie counterparts five tries to two for a bonus-point win in Wellington.
Unlike their second-half surrender in a 50-3 shellacking at the hands of the Blues last week, the Rebels, even while down on troops, produced a vastly improved and spirited performance on Friday night.
“If you look back with about 20, 25 (minutes) to go, we were right in there,” said Rebels captain Matt Toomua.
“The scoreline blew out a little bit at the end there but they’re a classy team. You can’t give them much because they’ll take it.
“But I thought it was a fair old rugby match. I think both teams would agree with that. The game had everything.
“It had a lot of tries and even had a streaker so I think everyone got their money’s worth.”
Despite camping themselves on the Melbourne try line, the Hurricanes scored all 14 of their first-half points only while Rebels prop Cabous Eloff was in the sin bin between the 15th and 25th minutes.
And even the Hurricanes’ first try came against the run of play, with former All Blacks winger Julian Savea intercepting a pass from Rebels flyhalf Carter Gordon and racing 40 metres to score the opener.
Impressive centre Billy Proctor added the Hurricanes’ second and Jordie Barrett’s two conversions gave the hosts a 14-3 lead at the break, with the Rebels’ only points of the half coming via a Matt Toomua penalty goal.
But if the Canes thought the Rebels would fold like they did from a similar scoreline last start, they were mistaken.
The return of Wallabies forward Trevor Hosea and a clear commitment to defence dragged the Rebels back into the contest.
A Michael Wells try shortly after the interval, after a quick tap and sharp pass from Joe Powell, pulled the Rebels back to within six points of the Hurricanes.
But a second try to Savea – which leaves “The Bus” just one shy of the Hurricanes’ all-time Super Rugby record of 56 from Christian Cullen and TJ Perenara – then another from fellow winger Wes Goosen in the space of 10 minutes sealed the Rebels’ fate.
The Hurricanes’ fifth try seven minutes from fulltime clinched a bonus point.
“We had to work bloody hard to get a couple of tries in that first half. They stuck in there,” said Hurricanes skipper Dane Coles.
“But the mindset was to get the bonus point tonight and we did.”
Melbourne’s loss left Australia’s five teams none from six after the Rebels, Waratahs, Queensland Reds, Western Force and Brumbies all lost in round one to New Zealand outfits.
Man of the match: For the Hurricanes Julian Savea and Dane Coles were the standout performers. Andrew Kellaway and Isi Naisarani put in a good shift for the Melbourne Rebels. However, our nod goes to centre Billy Proctor, who made a couple of good runs and scored a try.
Tries: Savea 2, Proctor, Goosen, Aumua
Cons: Barrett 5
For the Melbourne Rebels
Tries: Wells Magnay
Yellow card: Cabous Eloff (Melbourne Rebels, 15 – collapsing a maul)
Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Billy Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Wes Goosen, 10 Orbyn Leger, 9 Jonathan Taumateine, 8 Devan Flanders, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Dane Coles (captain), 1 Xavier Numia.
Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Pouri Rakete-Stones, 18 Alex Fidow, 19 Liam Mitchell, 20 Brayden Iose, 21 Gareth Evans, 22 Cam Roigard, 23 Lolagi Visinia.
Melbourne Rebels: 15 George Worth, 14 Andrew Kellaway, 13 Campbell Magnay, 12 Matt To’omua (captain), 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Carter Gordon, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Joshua Kemeny, 6 Michael Wells, 5 Trevor Hosea, 4 Robert Leota, 3 Cabous Eloff, 2 Jordan Uelese, 1 Cameron Orr.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Matt Gibbon, 18 Lucio Sordoni, 19 Ross Haylett-Petty, 20 Richard Hardwick, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Stacey Ili, 23 Frank Lomani.
Referee: Graham Cooper
Assistant referees: Paul Williams, Angus Mabey
TMO: Mike Fraser