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Rebels no match for Super table-topping Hurricanes

FRIDAY WRAP: The Rebels have been left to rue another slow start in crashing to the table-topping Hurricanes, who piled on the points in their Super Rugby Pacific clash in Palmerston North.

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The unbeaten Hurricanes made a staggering 14 personnel changes to their line-up heading into the match but didn’t skip a beat as they notched their fifth win of the season with a 54-28 victory.

The Rebels had no answer in the first half to the Kiwi outfit, who led 33-7 at the break on the back of five tries and were ahead 33-0 after 34 minutes.

Wing Salesi Rayasi grabbed two tries while skipper Brad Shields, who last played for the Hurricanes in 2018 before a stint in Europe, also crossed in his first match of the season after recovering from a foot injury.

Rebels lock Angelo Smith scored in the 39th minute to ensure his side at least lodged some points in a humiliating first half which will do little to help their case for survival.

In financial dire straits, Melbourne is still waiting on a decision from Rugby Australia on their future in the competition.

Frustrated Rebels coach Kevin Foote said his team gave the ruthless home side too many opportunities, particularly in the first half.

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“It’s the way we’ve been playing. We’re not starting very well and then we’re showing a lot of character to come back,” Foote told Stan Sport.

“It was 21-21 in the second half but it’s the start of the game that we’ve got to get right.

“You can’t start Super Rugby like that, especially in NZ, so we will keep looking.”

The Rebels rallied to open the scoring in the second half through centre Lukas Ripley, and the team came together when youngster Mason Gordon crossed in his Super debut.

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Replacing Andrew Kellaway at fullback, the 21-year-old ran onto a ball from his Wallabies playmaker brother Carter and made his way through some heavy traffic to make it 47-19.

While the battered Rebels kept toiling away, the Hurricanes kept them at bay as they racked up a total of eight tries for the night.

Veteran TJ Perenara was among the try-scorers while Jordie Barrett collected a five-pointer in each half in his return from a two-game suspension.

“Rebels are a great side, they play a lot of rugby and they’ve been going through a bit of adversity as a franchise and we knew they were going to keep turning up for each other,” said All Blacks centre Barrett.

“We showed great control, particularly with a lot of rotation and changes … it was important for us to start strong.

“We got a little bit loose in the end but we will take the win.”

*A brilliant Tom Wright try-of-the-year contender has helped the Brumbies trounce Moana Pasifika in a statement 39-point Super Rugby Pacific win in Canberra.

Noah Lolesio was also a standout in Friday’s 60-21 victory, the Brumbies scoring nine tries and moving to 4-1 ahead of a tasty Australian derby with the in-form Reds in Brisbane next Saturday.

The game was in the balance when Wright boldly chipped across-field from the Brumbies’ line, finding flying wing Corey Toole in traffic.

Toole, who did his own Test case no harm with another scything display, veered back in-field and found Wright again for a daring full-field try.

Pasifika had looked set to score themselves before hooker Billy Pollard stripped a runaway Nigel Ah Wong, giving Wright the platform to display some Brumbies brilliance.

Lolesio dropped a pass with the line in sight, but it was an early blemish in an otherwise dominant performance by the man overlooked for a World Cup role last year.

No.12 Tamati Tua scored from a turnover, Pollard showing a clean set of heels before Rob Valetini stormed on to a pass and set up the centre.

Pasifika, who are now 2-3, kept early pace when they twice exposed a thin left-side Brumbies defence and scored through Kyren Taumoefolau and Lotu Inisi.

Wright’s bold play swung the tide – it was 43-14 before the visitors scored again – and he iced his display with a polished assist for Toole and a try of his own in a two-minute burst in the final stages.

The scores and scorers:

Hurricanes 54-28 Rebels

The scorers:

For Hurricanes:
Tries: Rayasi 2, Barrett 2, Shields, Godfrey, Kirifi, Perenara
Cons: Morgan 7

For Rebels:
Tries: Smith, Ripley, Gordon
Cons: Gordon 3

Teams:

Hurricanes: 15 Harry Godfrey, 14 Daniel Sinkinson, 13 Ngane Punivai, 12 Jordie Barrett, 11 Salesi Rayasi, 10 Aidan Morgan, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Devan Flanders, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Brad Shields (captain), 5 Caleb Delany, 4 Justin Sangster, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 James O’Reilly, 1 Pouri Rakete-Stones
Reserves: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Tevita Mafileo, 18 Pasilio Tosi, 19 James Tucker, 20 Brayden Iose, 21 Richard Judd, 22 Riley Higgins, 23 Josh Moorby

Rebels: 15 Andrew Kellaway, 14 Lachie Anderson, 13 Lukas Ripley, 12 David Feliuai, 11 Glen Vaihu, 10 Carter Gordon, 9 Ryan Louwrens, 8 Rob Leota (captain), 7 Vaiolini Ekuasi, 6 Tuaina Taii Tualima, 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Angelo Smith, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Jordan Uelese, 1 Isaac Kailea
Reserves: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Cabous Eloff, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Josh Canham, 20 Daniel Maiava, 21 Jack Maunder, 22 Mason Gordon, 23 Nick Jooste

Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant Referees: Angus Mabey, Marcus Playle

Brumbies 60-21 Moana Pasifika

The scorers:

For Brumbies:
Tries: Creighton 2, Valetini, Tua, Wright 2, Cale, Toole, Lonergan
Cons: Lolesio 5, Lonergan
Pen: Lolesio

For Moana Pasifika:
Tries: Taumoefolau, Inisi, Patafilo
Cons: Lealiifano 2, Havili

Teams:

Brumbies: 15 Tom Wright, 14 Ollie Sapsford, 13 Hudson Creighton, 12 Tamati Tua, 11 Corey Toole, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Harrison Goddard, 8 Charlie Cale, 7 Jahrome Brown, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Cadeyrn Neville, 4 Darcy Swain (captain), 3 Sefo Kautai, 2 Billy Pollard, 1 Harry Vella
Reserves:16 Lachlan Lonergan, 17 James Slipper, 18 Rhys Van Nek, 19 Nick Frost, 20 Tom Hooper, 21 Luke Reimer, 22 Ryan Lonergan, 23 Declan Meredith

Pasifika: 15 Danny Toala, 14 Nigel Ah Wong, 13 Pepesana Patafilo, 12 D’Angelo Leuila, 11 Kyren Taumoefolau, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Ereatara Enari, 8 Lotu Inisi, 7 Sione Havili Talitui (captain), 6 Jacob Norris, 5 Allan Craig, 4 Ola Tauelangi, 3 Sione Mafileo, 2 Samiuela Moli, 1 Abraham Pole
Reserves: 16 Tomasi Maka, 17 Sateki Latu, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Michael Curry, 20 Semisi Paea, 21 Melani Matavao, 22 William Havili, 23 Fine Inisi

Referee: Jordan Way
Assistant Referee: Reuben Keane, Jeremy Marky

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