Hurricanes flog Rebels to keep trans-Tasman streak alive

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

The Hurricanes have ripped the collective heart out of the Rebels, scoring 42 unanswered points to keep the trans-Tasman losing streak alive with a brilliant 50-19 win.

While the Rebels have played some breathtaking rugby to start the season, they entered this match with one question mark hanging over their head.

Could they beat a New Zealand opponent?

They had proven their mettle against Australian and South African foe but the Hurricanes represented their toughest test to date.

In the first half, they passed that test with flying colours.

They fought fire with fire to produce one of the most exhilarating contests of the season to date.Amanaki Mafi was enormous for the Rebels. Photo: Getty Images

Amanaki Mafi ran so far with the ball in hand that he appeared at the point of exhaustion by half time, Will Genia was at his masterful best at the base of the breakdown and Jack Debreczeni turned the pressure into points, slotting four straight first half penalties.

The first half was arguably a more entertaining affair than the Chiefs-Highlanders clash that preceded it - a complete abnormality in recent years.

Ben Lam crossed for a customary Canes try to open the half but it was all Rebels for the next 20 minutes and when Matt Philip scored a contentious try, Melbourne led 18-9 in front of a boisterous AAMI Park crowd.

But a disastrous 10 minutes followed and it was the world's best player at the coal face as the Hurricanes crossed twice more.Beauden Barrett was the mastermind in Melbourne. Photo: Getty ImagesAn incredibly lucky bounce from a Barrett cross field kick fell into the arms of Lam as he raced away to score a double, with the star flyhalf throwing a dummy close to the Rebels line and trotting over to give his side a 25-19 lead at the break.

That was the beginning of the end for Melbourne, who fell to pieces in the second half.

As the two sides emerged from the sheds there was one significant absence for the men in red, white and blue - Mafi subsequently failing a HIA.

Without Mafi, Melbourne folded.

Tries to Gareth Evans and Ngani Laumape in the 49th and 62nd minute, respectively, typified the lacklustre defensive effort which cost them dearly.

Laumape's try was created by three bad defensive errors - a poor read by Sefa Naivalu followed by woeful missed tackles from Jack Maddocks and Will Genia.

Lam's third and fourth try followed as Melbourne checked out, extending the incredible run of losses against New Zealand opposition to 33.

RESULT

Rebels 19

Tries: Philip

Cons: Debreczeni

Pens: Debreczeni 4

Hurricanes 50

Tries: Lam 4, B Barrett, Evans, Laumape

Cons: B Barrett 3

Pens: B Barrett 3