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Hurricanes player ratings vs Crusaders | Super Rugby Pacific

By Jordan King
Ardie Savea. (Photo by Martin Hunter/Photosport)

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A strong first half and courageous finish weren’t enough for the Hurricanes in their season opener as they went down to the Crusaders, 42-32, at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.

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The men from the capital had three tries overturned by the TMO, but missed opportunities in the red zone and some shoddy defending would also have left a sour taste in their mouths.

Their next encounter is against the Blues next Sunday which leaves them with eight days to rectify their shortcomings against the defending champions.

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Here’s how the Hurricanes rated tonight:

1. Pouri Rakete-Stones – 6
The loosehead made the most of his opportunity in the run-on side. He held his own against an experienced campaigner in Oli Jager and buried his head in a number of rucks to help his team control the second quarter. Off in the 49th minute.

2. Asafo Aumua – 6
The human wrecking ball imposed himself when the action came his way and hit the target on all but one of his throws at the set-piece. The double-movement penalty cost his side a chance at points, but it’s hard to blame him for the second effort being so close to the chalk.

3. Tyrel Lomax – 5
You always know what you’re going to get with Lomax – that being an anchor in the scrum and the odd carry here and there, which he delivered once again this evening. The intent is always there with the latter, although his lack of mobility means he isn’t the toughest bloke to tackle. Departed in the 56th minute.

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4. James Blackwell – 4
It wasn’t the best outing for the second-row forward as he failed to make a difference on either side of the ball and gifted the opposition three points for an offside penalty. However, he did snag one against the throw and only missed one tackle while making 10.

5. Justin Sangster – 6
An inspiring debut from a guy who was only on the fringe of the Bay of Plenty set-up six months ago. He got stuck in to what was a formidable opposing pack and even chanced his arm with a few one-off snipes. His eagerness did lead to a turnover though and ended with his team being back inside their own 22. He’ll learn when to pick his moments the more time he has in the saddle.

6. Devan Flanders – 6
Registered the highest tackle count of all the Hurricanes (15) and battled mightily for the full 80. His dynamism was also on display with ball in hand and did enough to earn himself another go at blindside next weekend.

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7. Du’Plessis Kirifi – 5
Wasn’t his usual self at the breakdown as the Hurricanes didn’t look interested in competing for the Crusaders ball in the opening half. Contributed seven tackles to his team’s tally before departing just after halftime with an apparent lower back injury

8. Ardie Savea – 7
Relentless with all of his touches and went oh-so-close to scoring what could have been a momentum-changing try before halftime. He was also denied a marvellous solo effort after a contentious knock-on call in the lead-up. Was surprisingly subbed off after having the try waved off.

9. Jamie Booth – 6
Delivered crisp service and posed a threat whenever he chose to dart from the base or peel off the set-piece. Found himself in no man’s land in the build-up to Fainga’anuku’s first meat pie, but outside of that did all he could to provide his backline with some spark.

10. Ruben Love – 5
Had more of an influence than in any other game he’s had in his young career and popped up at the right time in support for the Canes’ first try of 2022. A few questionable tactical kicks let the Crusaders off the hook when under the pump and his clearances could have used an extra metre or two.

11. Wes Goosen – 5
Went looking for work as the ball hardly came his way and ran a great line off his wing to set up his team’s first dot. Dropped off a few tackles, but came up with a try-saver to cut the Crusader’s momentum as they appeared to get a roll on.

12. Peter Umaga-Jensen – 3
Eight metres from eight carries doesn’t cut the mustard for a player of Umaga-Jensen’s talent. Throw in a dropped ball and it’s fair to say this was his poorest performance to date for his beloved Hurricanes. He can’t drop his head though as his team will need him at his best if they are to keep teams defensively on their toes.

13. Billy Proctor – 4
Didn’t put a foot wrong on defence, but like his midfield partner, he was ineffective on attack. He and Umaga-Jensen will need to figure out the best way to work with each other if the Hurricanes are to defy expectations this season.

14. Julian Savea – 5
As was the case with Goosen, Savea too had very few opportunities with the ball until the Hurricanes were chasing the game. When he did carry though he got his side on the front foot, so don’t be surprised if next week we see him more involved on crash plays. The missed tackle on Fainga’anuku five metres out was a low light worth mentioning though.

15. Jordie Barrett – 7
The best Hurricanes on the field today. Helped steer the team around the park from first receiver and was his sides’ most potent threat with the pill. His most notable contributions were a big fend on Sevu Reece to put Bailyn Sullivan away on debut and a sneaky pick and go that saw him cross the whitewash untouched.

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16. Jacob Devery – 6
Another one that should be proud of his efforts in his first game of Super Rugby. Nailed his throws and didn’t shy away from the contact. Eerily similar build and style to former Canes rake Ricky Riccitelli.

17. Xavier Numia – 4
Didn’t deliver the punch Jason Holland and co have come to expect from the front-rower. Was outdone by Tamaiti Williams in the battle of the bench at scrum time and turned the ball over in contact twice, the last of which ended the game.

18. Ben May – 4
Brought on for Lomax in the 56th minute and earned his 100th Super Rugby cap as well as becoming the oldest player to ever feature at this level. The celebrations stopped there though as the scrum was noticeably weaker when he and Numia arrived on the scene, with the penalty try coming off the back of a scrum penalty he gave away.

19. Reed Prinsep – 4
Entered the fray in the final quarter and like most of his fellow forwards off the pine, didn’t have a huge say on the proceedings.

20. Brayden Iose – 4
Came on early in the second half as Kirifi left the field with an injury and struggled to get himself involved as much as he would’ve liked to. Binned in the 65th minute for sacking a rolling maul and conceded a penalty try in the process. A night best to flush and move on.

21. Richard Judd – 5
Picked up where Booth left off with his delivery of pass, but was thrown into the mix when the Crusaders took the game by the scruff of the neck and put the game to bed.

22. Jackson Garden-Bachop – 7
Upped the tempo in the final ten minutes and attacked the space when it appeared. A try in the 77th minute was a just reward for his willingness to take the line on.

23. Bailyn Sullivan – 6
Scored a try with his first touch of the ball and got over the gain line with all of his carries in his 20 minutes.

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