You could smell the desperation in the air at Sky Stadium in Wellington on Mana Moana night. The 0 and 2 Hurricanes and the Chiefs sitting on an 11 loss streak; both needed a victory but “there could be only one”.
The Canes threw Orbyn Leger into the fray and partnered him with Luke Campbell in the inside backs. Xavier Numia and Salesi Rayasi got his first starts for the season.
The home team was 26-7 ahead at halftime and could only conjure up 3 points in the second half as they folded, the Chiefs gobbling them up 35-29.
Here’re the Hurricanes’ ratings.
1. Xavier Numia – 5.5
Busy outing around the field, scrumming needs a bit of work to give him a regular start. Nice ball out the back in the lead up to Riccitelli try and didn’t miss a tackle. 53rd minute penalised at attacking scrum although great analysis from Kane Hames spelt out that he was robbed by Ta’avao. Pinged at the tackle a minute later and that seemed to prompt his substitution.
2. Ricky Riccitelli – 6
Had a very strong game. Lineout was potent, especially his combination with Blackwell. Chugging down the touchline and got up a good head of steam to bounce off two tackles for the try. Was there again in the 33rd minute running off Ardie’s shoulder for some good yards. Pinged 65th minute for offside at lineout, there will be discussion on that one. Off at 70.
3. Tyrel Lomax – 5.5
Couldn’t make much headway in scrums against Ross. Couple of good runs, broke the line in 10th minute. Off 61.
4. James Blackwell— 6
Was the lineout banker for the Canes with 8 soaring takes off the top. Sloppy delivery in the 2nd minute but smooth from there. 14 tackles and sweet ball 37th minute on attack that led to Rayasi’s 2nd try.
5. Isaia Walker-Leawere- 5.5
The big unit was not asked to jump much at lineout time but tireless around the paddock. Awesome turnover on Cane in the 21st minute. Played halfback on attack to Rayasi’s 2nd try. Smart work in the 47th minute with a lineout maul turnover.
6. Reed Princep- 5.5
Top tackler in the game and a couple of good lineout takes. Nasty high tackle at 40th minute, couldn’t stop the change of momentum in the 2nd half.
7. Du’Plessis Kirifi – 6
Ultimate pinball bouncing into and off people on and off the ball. His physicality gets into people’s heads as we saw with the little off the ball action he got from Jacobson. Had a little burst in the 49th minute but more of a defensive effort. Off at 61.
8. Ardie Savea – 6.5
Good stats with decent yards, high tackles and turnovers. Missed Taukei’aho on the inside shoulder on Trask try. He was heart broken at fulltime and questions will have to be asked about the team leadership as the Hurricanes melted.
It's taken 12 matches – including eight in last year's competition – for the Chiefs to finally taste victory in a Super Rugby Aotearoa match. Here's how they rated. #SuperRugbyAotearoa #HURvCHI https://t.co/TwwDXLVPu0
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) March 20, 2021
9. Luke Campbell – 5.5
First up knock on after some sloppy lineout ball. Showed greased lightening shoes to beat Trask and DMac to the line for the first try in the 12th minute. Off at 65.
10. Orbyn Leger – 5
He is a very good all round player and didn’t embarrass himself but he struggled at ten to drive the team and was found out a few times in kicking for position.
11. Salesi Rayasi – 7
It’s hard to understand why his team didn’t get more ball to him on the left wing. Four touches for two tries. Didn’t touch the ball til the 21st minute, a moment later scored from the Laumape cross kick. Also was looking for work on the right when he put a little shimmy on ALB in the 50th. His defence was good too, he was the top tackling back for the game; a great save on Weber at halftime and then in the 2nd half on Mitch Brown and DMac to deny a try.
12. Ngani Laumape – 6
Had a good first hour but looked injured in the last stages which seemed to affect his team. Good to see move beyond one dimension; he had top yards for his team but the way he set up the Riccitelli try was promising, probably his instinct was to tuck it under the wing and have a go but threw a nice pass to the hooker. Then a creative cross kick to Rayasi for the collection and try. Was also very busy in defence, 13 tackles.
13. Billy Proctor – 5
Is a good foil for all the strong running Canes backs. Good work over the ball to garner a penalty in the first minute. Off 57.
14. Julian Savea – 5
Couldn’t really get into the game although we saw his aerial and distribution expertise a couple of times. Off at 70.
15. Jordie Barrett- 6.5
He’s like a reincarnation of Don Clarke. Big, strong and determined he rocket launches his punts and place kicks. A slippery break around ALB to set up Campbell’s try. Commits hard in defence; he smashed Taukei’aho in the 12th minute but came in a bit hot in the 57th minute tackle on Dmac, missed him and that led to Weber try. Frustrated at the end, holding on at the breakdown to concede the last penalty.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) March 20, 2021
16. James O’Reilly- 4
On 70. The bench in general lacked energy when compared with their opposites.
17. Fraser Armstrong- 4
On at 55.
18. Tevita Mafileo – 4
On at 61. Pinged for high tackle 63rd minute.
19. Liam Mitchell – 4
On at 73.
20. Devan Flanders – 4.5
On 61. Dagger like run first up but quiet after that.
21. Jonathan Taumateine – 4
On 65. Had to make last tackles on the last two Chiefs’ tries and gave away possession at a crucial time.
22. Peter Umaga-Jensen -4
On at 57.
23. Wes Goosen- 4.5
On at 70. Got a Chiefs necktie from Tupaea first up to give the Canes a penalty.
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