Vodacom Super Rugby
Hurricanes crush Rebels
Wellington - Winger Julian Savea scored three tries and fullback Andre Taylor scored two as the Hurricanes thrashed the Rebels 66-24 in their Super Rugby clash on Saturday.
The Hurricanes led 38-17 at half-time.
Taylor's double gave him 10 tries for the season, making him the top try-scorer in the competition after 14 rounds, and winger Alapati Leiua also touched down twice as the Hurricanes ran nine tries through a weak Rebels defence.
Flyhalf Beauden Barrett, like Savea also a new All Blacks squad member, kicked 10 goals from 10 attempts as the Hurricanes posted their highest score and largest winning margin in a Super Rugby match, while keeping alive their slim playoffs hopes.
The Hurricanes, who started the match in ninth place, may need maximum points from this and their last four matches of the regular season to make the top six and qualify for the playoffs.
They made an emphatic claim for that place, reacting to conceding an early try on Saturday by crossing five times before half-time to claim a bonus point.
Rebels winger Cooper Vuna scored two tries and narrowly missed a hat-trick for the Rebels who made too many turnovers which fed counter-attacks, and then continuously missing tackles that led to tries.
The Rebels' backline defence was almost non-existent on Saturday and it their most experienced players - Julian Huxley at fullback, Mark Gerrard on the wing, Kurtley Beale at flyhalf and Lachlan Mitchell at centre - who were most negligent in their defensive duties.
The Hurricanes were sparked by the creative work of TJ Perenara at scrumhalf, Barrett at flyhalf and Tim Bateman at inside center.
"It came from a lot of hard work," Hurricanes captain Conrad Smith said.
"We were pretty disappointed with the way things went last week (in a loss to the Brumbies). It was a long eight days between games and we just wanted to come out and put a good performance together.
"We just had a feeling all week that we were due for a good one and that's the way it turned out."
Vuna scored the opening try in the eighth minute and Rebels hooker Adam Freier scored the last of the match after the final siren.
All the Hurricanes' tries came from outstanding backline combinations but the best was probably the first, scored by Taylor in the 18th minute and which may stand as the best try of the season.
Perenara made a long and probing break into Rebels' territory and, confronted by the defence, threw a daring pass behind his back which was claimed in one hand and at pace by Bateman. The centre took a few paces before being halted and then, in the tackle, threw an infield pass which Taylor claimed on his fingertips and in a dive to score.
Savea scored tries in the 28th and 29th minutes, then completed his hat-trick in the 53rd while Leiua scored in the 25th and 43rd minutes, and Taylor in the 18th and 57th.
"We were very confident coming in but what we served up today wasn't good enough so we go back to the drawing board and pick ourselves up for the Brumbies next week," Rebels captain Gareth Delve said.
"Credit to the Hurricanes, they were fantastic. You give an attacking team like that, that many opportunities you get burned and that's what happened tonight."Scorers:Hurricanes:
Tries: Andre Taylor (2), Alapati Leiua (2), Julian Savea (3), Jack Lam, Chris Eaton; Conversions: Beauden Barrett (9); Penalties: BarrettRebels:
Tries: Cooper Vuna (2), Adam Freier; Conversions: Kurtley Beale (2), Richard Kingi; Penalties: BealeTeams:Hurricanes:
15 Andre Taylor, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Conrad Smith (captain), 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
Substitutes: 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 (captain), 7 Tim Davidson, 6 Luke Jones, 5 Hugh Pyle, 4 Cadeyrn Neville, 3 Jono Owen, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Nic Henderson
Substitutes: 16 Adam Freier, 17 Rodney Blake, 18 Al Campbell, 19 Tom Chamberlain, 20 Richard Kingi, 21 James Hilgendorf, 22 Stirling Mortlock