Savea pulls strings for Canes against Tahs
TOBY ROBSON AT WESTPAC STADIUM
When you have a devastating attacking force like wing Julian Savea maybe defensive lapses just don't matter.
It's fast becoming the case for the Hurricanes who extended their winning streak to four straight with a 41-29 dismissal of the Waratahs in Wellington.
The much anticipated debut of the younger Savea brother Ardie at openside, and he wasn't bad, dominated the build-up to the match, but it was All Black Julian who stamped his mark.
The Bus scored two of his side's four tries and left plenty of Waratahs road kill on the slippery Westpac Stadium surface with several other bruising runs.
The Hurricanes are looking more potent by the week and with their young halves TJ Perenara and Beauden Barrett at the helm, 40 points looked like a canter.
The pair identified and exploited the Waratahs inability to regather kicks and three tries came from the pair's accurate boots.
Perenara's pin point box kick brought the first after Savea junior had gobbled up the rebound before it was spread wide to his older sibling to cruise 40 metres to the line.
Barrett's deft cross kick saw hooker Motu Matu'u run in, while a dab over the top from Perernara was brilliantly regathered by Savea at pace for his brace.
It was a meritorious and valuable win over a Waratahs side that had three wins coming into the match.
The Hurricanes achieved it without loose head prop Ben Franks who pulled out with a lower back strain and No 8 Victor Vito, whose calf injury had failed a morning fitness test.
And a four try bonus point will make it all the sweeter regardless of the disappointing 8,966 in the stands.
But there will also be the annoying knowledge that the opposition scored 29 points, including three tries of their own including late efforts to Adam Ashley-Cooper and Israel Folau.
Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett will lie awake thinking about the ease with which Waratahs first five eighth Bernard Foley repeatedly made the first line of defence look like swiss cheese.
The Hurricanes were playing in black armbands to honour the passing of former teammate Chris Eaton's wife in a car accident and there was a touching tribute on the big screen before the match.
And though the Waratahs made most of the early play, showing their intent to spread the ball wide it was the home side who got the first try.
It came Perenara's high clearing kick rebounded into the arms of Ardie Savea.
The young openside showed his skill to off-load to prop Reggie Goodes, before silky centre Conrad Smith's long pass set Julian Savea free to cruise 40 metres to the try line for a 10-3 lead on 13 minutes.
The Hurricanes looked good in patches, but were spilling too much ball and that wasn't the only effect of the pre-match shower, which swept over the ground.
The slippery surface saw numerous players struggling to hold their feet, particularly in defence and Foley didn't miss the trick.
He repeatedly wrong footed the Hurricanes defence and scorched between Faifili Levave and an out of sorts Tim Bateman on 20 minutes, then around the last defender for a brilliant solo try to tie the scores at 13-13.
The boots of Barrett and Foley kept the scores fittingly close for a first 40 minutes that had seen both fail to take their chances in attack, a late penalty putting the home side up 19-16 at the break.
The Hurricanes came out well after the break, Barrett and Smith setting Goodes free for a 20 metre run and a 24-16 cushion. It became a bigger one when Matu'u scored and too big for the visitors when Savea got his second for a 38-19 lead on 55 minutes.
Hurricanes 41 (Julian Savea 2, Reggie Goodes, Motu Matu'u tries, Beauden Barrett 5 pens, 3 cons) Waratahs 29 (Bernard Foley, Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper tries, Brendan McKibbin 4 pen, con). HT: 19-16 Hurricanes
- Fairfax Media
Which 2015 NZ Super Rugby team looks best?