The Rebels were coming off the bye and unfortunately, they did not return from the bye until around twenty minutes into the match where the Hurricanes led 26 nil.
To the Rebels credit they did fight back after that, only conceding one more score a penalty goal but with Cooper’s missed penalty goal, it was a day where the Rebels walked away empty handed.
From a line out inside the first minute, the Hurricanes spread the ball wide with the two wingers Wes Goosen and Chase Tiatia linking up with each other. Tiatia gained 35 metres and was stopped just metres out. A desperate tackle by Will Genia on Vaea Fifita resulted in a turnover on the Rebels defensive 22.
The Hurricanes were then penalised for not releasing in the tackle. Reece Hodge attempted a shot at goal from 52 metres. He had the distance but not the accuracy.
Asafo Aumua from a Rebels turn over ran 40 metres to inside the 10 and offloaded to Ardie Savea who couldn’t handle the pass with the line wide open. A short time later Ngani Laumape powered his way over the line, running from 40 metres out near the wing to score under the posts. Laumape busted tackles at will. Hurricanes led 7 – 0.
Quade Cooper put in a cross-field kick for Marika Koroibete but Jordie Barrett read it well and was tackled high by Angus Cottrell. From the ensuing penalty the Hurricanes had a line out inside the Rebels’ 22. The Rebels defence was too bunched up and the Hurricanes spread the ball with Beauden Barrett going over untouched. Barrett converted his try to give the Hurricanes a 14-nil lead inside 10 minutes. And the signs were there that it was going to be a long day for the Rebels.
Quade Cooper gave Marika Koroibete some space down the wing with a long pass over the top. This helped the Rebels get inside the Hurricanes 22. But Ardie Savea stole the ball and Beauden Barrett caused some chaos by running back at the Rebels and breaking numerous tackles and at the end of the drive Barrett got the ball back and drove a kick deep in Rebels territory. The Hurricanes got over the line from the Rebels lineout, although may not have grounded the ball. It didn’t matter though as the TMO ruled that the Hurricanes knocked on at the line out.
After 11 phases after a Hurricanes line out in the Rebels 22, the Rebels defence were attracted to the middle of the ground like bees to a honey pot and Jordie Barrett threw a long pass to winger Wes Goosen who had a hectare and ran 22 metres to score. Beauden Barrett just missed the conversion and the Hurricanes led 19 – 0 and were in bonus point territory after 16 minutes.
Reece Hodge made a break through the Hurricanes line just inside Hurricanes territory and passed to Quade Cooper. Unfortunately, Cooper had a little look to his right to see what he was going to do next and put the pass down.
From the scrum, Goosen almost made a break down the wing. Following his run Beauden Barrett threw a beautiful ball to James Blackwell who passed to Aumua who steamrolled over Will Genia. Aumua passed to Vaea Fifita, Fifita picked up the ball on the bounce who ran thirty metres untouched for another try. Hurricanes 26 nil and well and truly beating the clock. At this stage of the game I thought about the ‘dad’ joke that the Rebels must think defence is the thing you build around de-house.
The Rebels had an attacking lineout outside the Hurricanes 22, an insightful run from Will Genia saw the Rebels get within 5 metres of the Hurricanes line. Unfortunately, a loopy pass over the top from Genia to Maddocks saw Maddocks easily taken into touch.
The best period for the Rebels in the first half was when the Hurricanes had a scrum feed 15 metres out from their own line. The Hurricanes front row were penalised for standing up. The Rebels requested another scrum and the were awarded a free kick for early engagement. Genia took the free kick and found Dane Haylett Petty, Anaru Rangi and Will Genia were both tackled close to the line and the ball was turned over but the Hurricanes were penalised for being offside. From the next scrum the Rebels almost barged the ball over but the Hurricanes scrum was once again penalised. The Rebels attacked the line from the next scrum with English and Naisarani among those to get close. But the ball was ripped away in a tackle by Ardie Savea. The ball seemed to come forward from Savea but Genia knocked on straight after that and Genia was called for the knock on.
Ardie Savea came close to scoring following a 5-metre scrum from the Hurricanes but Luke Jones did enough in defence as Savea tried to barge over to see Savea lose the ball over the try line.
There was no more scoring in the second half and the Hurricanes led at half time 26 nil.
Shortly after the restart Reece Hodge copped a falcon (ball to the face / head) from a Beauden Barrett kick. The driving maul was the Rebels go to in the next few minutes. The Hurricanes were penalised for collapsing a maul from a lineout outside the Rebels’ defensive 22. After finding touch, the Rebels found touch thirty five metres out from the Hurricanes’ line. From a maul the Rebels gained another 15 metres but after seven phases Dane Haylett-Petty lost the ball in a tackle from Fraser Armstrong and Ngani Laumape.
The Rebels received another penalty at a scrum on their attacking 22. The Rebels again used the driving maul from the lineout and got close to the line but the Hurricanes collapsed the maul and were penalised. The Rebels received another penalty at the next line out for tackling the jumper in the air and the Hurricanes received a yellow card warning from Nick Berry (though despite a number of penalties after that a yellow card never eventuated). During the next driving maul Reed Prinsep stole the ball for the Hurricanes.
After concerted attacking from the Rebels in the second half they finally got on the board. Following a scrum Quade Cooper threw a wonderful ball to put Reece Hodge threw a hole. From the next ruck Genia found Matt Philip who strolled over next to the posts. Cooper’s conversion made changed the score to 26 to 7.
Shortly after the kick off, Cooper kicked a ball into touch when Genia passed the ball back into 22. After the line out Beauden Barrett put in a little kick that was read by Quade Cooper who then put in a little kick for Koroibete to chase. Goosen knocked the ball on as he ran back to regather it and Tiatia was ruled to be offside as he picked up the ball.
The Rebels lost the ball at the line out but then the ball popped out of the Hurricanes’ ruck and Matt Philip ran 15 metres before the Rebels lost the ball themselves.
Angus Cottrell made an insightful run for the Rebels gaining 15 metres for the Rebels following a short pass from Philip. The Hurricanes were then penalised for being off their feet at the ruck. The Rebels kicked for touch but the Hurricanes pinched the ball at the five metre line out.
The Rebels continued to dominate the possession and field position in the second half. Cooper made a wonderful inside ball to Tom English and English tried to reciprocate to Reece Hodge. Unfortunately, Hodge was unable to handle the pass less than five metres out from the Hurricanes line.
From yet another attacking line out on the Hurricanes’ defensive 22, Genia found Pone Fa’amausili who was able to ride the tackle from Ardie Savea with his first touch and offload to Isi Naisarani. Naisarani then passed to Meakes who scored next to the post. Meakes had only been on for a short time but he made some important contributions after coming on. The Hurricanes led 26 to 14 with 15 minutes to go.
After the restart and with the Huricanes on attack, Ross Haylett-Petty with a pick and go from the ruck gained 35 metres. After losing some ground, a good run from Campbell Magnay saw the Rebels get back close to the 22 but Reece Hodge knocked on again. A nice wrap around play saw Jack Maddocks put Marika Koroibete into space but Beauden Barrett was able to stop Koroibete five metres from the line.
The Rebels were able to turn the ball over from a five metre scrum a short time later. A great pass from Billy Meakes to Jack Maddocks and then a thirty metre pass from Maddocks found Hodge in space on the wing and he went over for the try. Cooper just missed the conversion and the Hurricanes were leading 26 to 19 with eight minutes to go.
Jordie Barrett was tackled without the ball and Jordie kicked a penalty goal from 42 metres. Quade Cooper then had a shot at goal to earn the Rebels a bonus point, but he missed from almost directly in front, much to the delight of the Wellington crowd.
The Hurricanes ended up winning 29 – 19 despite conceding 12 penalties to the Rebels three. The Australian conference has now turned into a log jam.
The Game Changer
The game changer wasn’t one player or one incident, it was the first twenty two minutes where the Hurricanes ran riot. Where after scoring four tries led 26 points to nil.
The G&GR MOTM
It was a game of two halves so there was no clear standout for the entire match. Particularly in the first half Vaea Fifita, Asafo Aumua, Beauden Barrett and Wes Goosen were very good for the Hurricanes. In the second half, in particular, Matt Philip, Isi Naisarani, Will Genia and Reece Hodge were heavily involved. I will pick Aumua who made a number of good runs and will leave Will Genia having nightmares.
As noted Matt Philip, Isi Naisarani, Will Genia and Reece Hodge were good in the second half. Quade Cooper also did some nice things, although the missed penalty attempt at the end cost the Rebels a bonus point. Billy Meakes obviously didn’t like being benched, because he made a number of impactful runs when he came on.
Score & Scorers
Tries: Ngani Laumape, Beauden Barrett, Wes Goosen, Vaea Fifita
Conversions: Beauden Barrett 3/4
Penalty goals: Jordie Barrett 1/1
Tries: Matt Philip, Billy Meakes, Reece Hodge
Conversions: Quade Cooper 2/3
Penalties: Reece Hodge 0/1, Quade Cooper 0/1