Top of the table Rebels humbled
By Roger Childs
Four wins from four, and then they met the Hurricanes.
The Melbourne-based Rebels came up against their first New Zealand opposition last night and might have fancied themselves on home turf.
But after leading 19-8 well into the first half, the Hurricanes scored 42 unanswered points to blow the top Aussie team away 50-19.
Are we in for a repetition of last year’s Kiwi dominance over the Australian franchises?
Slow start from the visitors
The Hurricanes did plenty of attacking early on, but could only manage one try, an excellent effort from Ben Lam, in the first quarter.
Meanwhile repeated off–sides by the visitors allowed Debreczeni to slot four penalties and then a dubious try by Matt Philip put the home team ahead 19-8.
For the remaining 50 minutes it would be one-way traffic as the visitors played their best rugby of the season so far.
A feast of action from the backs
The Hurricanes ran in seven tries with Lam getting four. Playing on the right wing he made the most of his opportunities and benefited from the play running his way. On the other wing, Julian Savea did not get the same chances, but made a number of his traditional bullocking runs.
The backs were well served by TJ Perenara who whipped out the ball rapidly for his outsides, who all played very well. Beauden Barrett kicked and handled well, and scored a classic sidestep try late in the first half. Laumape always looked dangerous with ball in hand and bumped off two defenders for an excellent try late in the game.
Jordie Barrett is back to top form and a couple of highly creative passes, one between the legs, set up two late tries.
Strong forward effort
The Hurricane front eight won plenty of quality ball for the backs to make merry, but also showed plenty of pace and determination in the open. Ricky Riccitelli was one of a number of forwards who ran strongly with ball in hand.
The support play was excellent, and one of the best tries was when Gareth Evans took advantage of a gap in the Rebels defence to score from 45 metres out.
This was impressive team performance from the Hurricanes and although the home team tried hard and had a few try-scoring opportunities, they just couldn’t match the all round skills and support play of the visitors.