Hurricanes smash woeful Rebels

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

The Rebels have been thumped 71-6 by a rampaging Hurricanes outfit, throwing their season into disarray after just two rounds.

Melbourne were simply woeful in their defensive work, with each of the Hurricanes' 11 tries featuring Rebels players sliding off tackles or showing a lack of commitment to the task at hand en route to the club's worst loss in its seven year history.

The visitors started well - just as they did last week before being hammered by the Blues - as Reece Hodge slotted two penalties to open up a 6-0 lead.

But the strong start was quickly forgotten as the Canes found their feet and played near-perfect attacking rugby to run right over the top of a Rebels team lacking defensive organisation and physicality.Vince Aso nabbed a double of his own. Photo: Getty ImagesThere were better signs in attack for the Rebels this week than there were last but the poor showing on the defensive side of the ball meant they were never in the contest.

Two statistics sum up the Rebels' performances in their first two starts.

They have missed a combined 66 tackles and lost by a combined margin of 103 points.

At this point of the season, they are not playing at a standard that is marginally competitive at Super Rugby level.

Coach Tony McGahan was despondent post match.

"It's hard to know where to start, really," he said.

"Second best in pretty much everything this evening - we tried hard and opened up okay but when they put their foot to the pedal we were unable to keep up," Tony McGahan

"Too much turnover ball from set piece, too much turnover ball from breakdown and they did some pretty special things out there but a lot of it was off the back of us."

Here's how the match played out.Ngani Laumape and Otere Black celebrate another try. Photo: Getty ImagesMitch Inman and Jackson Garden-Bachop were found wanting in the home side's first try, as Nehe Milner-Skudder sliced through the pair untouched to score in the 16th minute.

Five minutes had passed when Beauden Barrett chipped behind the Rebels line, with Nic Stirzaker and Vince Aso closing in on the ball.

Aso committed to the cause, crashed through Stirzaker's attempt to clean up and ran 40 metres to score.

The most glaring of defensive errors came at the 27 minute mark, as Ngani Laumape cantered over off the back of a Hurricanes scrum five out from the Rebels line - Stirzaker, Jordy Reid and Amanaki Mafi all found wanting in defence.

Some quintessential Hurricanes loose ball attack saw Matt Proctor score in the 39th - stretching the lead to 31-5 at the break and putting the game to bed.Julian Savea was at his bullocking best today. Photo: Getty ImagesThe second half started the same way the first ended, Ardie Savea crossing for a try, before some more average defensive work saw Reed Prinsep score.

Julian Savea then matched his brother's effort with a five pointer of his own, before Milner-Skudder put together a fantastic finish for his second and crossed for his hat trick.

Laumape scored his second try and final of the night with a terrific intercept to put the final nail in the coffin.

It was entirely one way traffic from the 15 minute mark and next week's bye could not come at a better time for the Rebels.

They must immediately improve defensively if they are to avoid another embarrassing loss against the Chiefs at AAMI Park in round four.

RESULT

Hurricanes 71

Tries: Milner-Skudder 3, Aso 2, Laumape 2, Proctor, A Savea, Prinsep, J Savea

Cons: Barrett 6, Black 2

Rebels 6

Pens: Hodge 2

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