The Melbourne Rebels have been brought back down to earth by one of the hottest teams in the Super Rugby competition, going down 38-13 to the Hurricanes.
The Melbourne Rebels were eager to show just how serious a contender they are in Super Rugby as the jumped out to a flying start at AAMI Park, dominating 83% of the possession and 100% of territory in the opening 10 minutes as they tested the defence of the Hurricanes.
Sefa Naivalu made a welcome return to the starting side with a typical powerful run to almost cross the line but the Hurricanes continued to hold strong. That was until a Tamati Ellison grubber set up Dom Shipperley for the opening try of the match.
Unfortunately that was one of the only highlights for Shipperley who was involved in friendly-fire when Nic Stirzaker crushed his ankle in a tackle, spelling the end of the night for the star winger.
In what has been a huge talking point during the Rebels home games this season, the turf of AAMI Park was constantly getting ripped up by 850kg of brute force at scrum time.
The Hurricanes then turned on the accelerator, led by dynamic flyhalf Beauden Barrett, as the visiting side scored four unanswered tries before the break. Barrett had 79 run metres, one try, one try-assist and 11 points to his name at halftime.
Former Rebels turned Hurricanes fullback Jason Woodward also enjoyed his return to Melbourne with a starring role to set up a try with a sensational chip and chase and even scoring one himself just shy of the break.
The Hurricanes didn’t slow down in the second half as they denied the Rebels possession to take them out of the game.
It didn’t get any easier for Melbourne when young gun Sean McMahon was issued a yellow card in the 50th minute.
The Hurricanes dominated possession in the second half, holding 75% of the ball but struggled to add points on the scoreboard until a Luke Jones error at the try line assisted Ardie Savea with his first of the night in the 60th minute.
If there wasn’t enough proof already of just how in-form Barrett is, he crossed for his second try of the night, showing lightning reflexes to regather a charge down kick to put the icing on the cake for the Wellington side.
The Rebels remain on top of the Australian conference alongside the Brumbies on 17 points and will re-group ahead of their next match against the Cheetahs next weekend.
Tries: D. Shipperley (10'), C.Crawford (80')
Penalty goals: R. Hodge (19)
Tries: V. Vito (16), C. Jane (21), B. Barrett (29), J. Woodward (38), A. Savea (60), B. Barrett (76)
Penalty goals: B. Barrett (18, 30, 39, 78)