Rebels fall to Hurricanes but Savea in spotlight

Fri, Mar 3, 2023, 10:30 AM
Melissa Woods - AAP
by Melissa Woods - AAP

Captain Ardie Savea has led the Hurricanes to a heart-stopping Super Rugby Pacific win over Melbourne but could find himself in trouble after threatening a Rebels player with a throat-slitting gesture.

The Hurricanes edged the Rebels 39-33 in their Super Round clash at AAMI Park on Friday night, delivering the home side's second straight loss to open their season.

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Richard Hardwick scored twice within seven minutes for Melbourne to trail by just a point but a 77th minute try by Hurricanes ace Jordie Barrett sealed the win.

Savea was hero and villain, scoring two early tries and setting up another as the visitors roared to a 24-7 half-time lead.

The All Blacks weapon was given a yellow card for his involvement in an all-in brawl just before break.

As he walked off, a fired up Savea gestured to Melbourne halfback Ryan Louwrens, prompting teammate Reece Hodge to complain to referee James Doleman, 'he's threatening to kill him'.

But there was no further action with Savea apologising after the match.

"I can understand the fans are furious around the gesture that I made," Savea told Stan Sport.

"It was a heat-of-the-moment kind of thing, that's footy but I understand, kids are watching us.

"That's out of character for me so I put my hand up and I apologise for that ... I've got to be better."

The Hurricanes were down to 13 men when reserve prop Tevita Mafileo was yellow-carded just two minutes into the half, with his sloppy clean-out then upgraded to a red card by the Television Match Official in a new competition rule.

Melbourne were first on the board in the second half with winger Lachie Anderson winning the race to a kick by young five-eighth Carter Gordon into the in-goal.

Gordon himself then picked up a five-pointer after he scooped up a loose Hurricanes ball and raced more than 70 metres, chased all the way by Savea.

Hodge added the extras to close the gap to 24-19 after 56 minutes, with the spite draining out of the match.

The Hurricanes kicked away again with Barrett booting a penalty and then firing a pass for flying winger Salesi Rayasi to dive across in the corner.

Hardwick's efforts gave the Rebels hope but the Hurricanes held on to savour their second Australian scalp after accounting for the Reds in round one.


TRIES: A. Savea 2, Moorby, Rayasi, Barrett

CONS: Barrett 4/5

PENS: Barrett 2/2


TRIES: Wilkin, Anderson, Gordon, Hardwick 2

CONS: Hodge 4/5


REBELS (1-15): Matt Gibbon, Alex Mafi, Sam Talakai, Josh Canham, Trevor Hosea, Tuiana Taii Tualima, Brad Wilkin (c), Richard Hardwick, Ryan Louwrens, Carter Gordon, Monty Ioane, Stacey Ili, Reece Hodge, Lachie Anderson, Joe Pincus

RESERVES: Jordan Uelese, Cameron Orr, Pone Fa'amausili, Angelo Smith, Josh Kemeny, James Tuttle, Lukas Ripley, Nick Jooste

HURRICANES: Xavier Numia, Dane Coles, Tyrel Lomax, James Blackwell, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Brayden Iose, Du’Plessis KirifI, Ardie Savea (c), Cameron Roigard, Aidan Morgan, Salesi Rayasi, Jordie Barrett, Billy Proctor, Julian Savea, Josh Moorby 

RESERVES: Asafo Aumua, Tevita Mafileo, Owen Franks, Caleb Delany, Peter Lakai, Jamie Booth, Riley Higgins, Harry Godfrey

Referee: James Doleman

Assistant referees: Paul Williams, Graham Cooper