Hurricanes beat Chiefs 45-8 in Super Rugby
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — All Blacks winger Julian Savea scored two tries as the Hurricanes took a bonus point from a record 45-8 win over defending champions the Chiefs on Saturday to keep alive their claim to a playoffs place in Super Rugby.
Savea scored one of the three tries the Hurricanes produced as they played into the teeth of a gale in the first half. He then added his second and the team’s fourth, bonus point try in the 10th minute of the second half.
The win lifted the Hurricanes to fourth place on the championships ladder and ensured the Chiefs gave up first place in the New Zealand conference to the Crusaders, who beat the Highlanders 32-30 earlier Saturday.
Beauden Barrett strengthed his claim to the All Blacks flyhalf spot for next month’s three-test series against England with a faultless display, kicking six conversions and a penalty.
The All Blacks’ incumbent No. 10, Aaron Cruden, returned from a lengthy injury break on Saturday, taking the field from the Chief’s bench in the 49th minute. He had a chance while warming the bench to watch Barrett’s virtuouso performance and to recognize the threat to his place in New Zealand’s starting lineup.
Barrett was instrumental in igniting the Hurricanes’ long-range attacks which repeatedly pierced holes in the Chiefs’ defense. Cruden had only been on the field a minute when Savea had his second try from a set piece movement in which Barrett, on the run-around, handled the ball twice.
The Hurricanes even added a fifth try, through flanker Jack Lam in his 50th Super Rugby match, when they were down to 14 men with the sin-binning of replacement prop Reggie Goodes. Brad Shields added the sixth in the 72nd minute and Barrett’s sixth conversion gave the Hurricanes’ their largest-ever total against the Chiefs.
The first half performance of the Hurricanes — scoring three tries into the wind and taking a 21-8 lead — set up the victory which was also founded on their strength at set pieces.
Fullback Andre Taylor scored the first try in the fifth minute but, in the only discordant note for the Hurricanes, was carried from the field early in the second half with a suspected broken ankle. The Chiefs hit back with a try to Liam Squire, briefly taking the lead at 8-7, but the Hurricanes scored tries through prop Ben Franks and Savea to go to halftime with a decisive advantage.
They gained complete control of the match in the second half, adding tries through Savea in the 50th minute, Lam in the 62nd and Shields in the 72nd, all of which were converted by Barrett.
Hurricanes 45 (Julian Savea 2, Andre Taylor, Ben Franks, Jack Lam, Brad Shields tries; Beauden Barrett 6 conversions, penalty), Chiefs 8 (Liam Squire try; Gareth Anscombe penalty). HT: 21-8.