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Hurricanes Player Ratings vs Drua | Super Rugby Pacific

By Ned Lester
Kini Naholo with ball in hand for the Hurricanes. Photo by Pita Simpson/Getty Images

Suva hosted this round 10 challenge for the Hurricanes, an intimidating venue given what the home team have accomplished on home soil this season.

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The Hurricanes struggled to contain the Drua’s attacking power, the home side racking up 400 run meters in the first half alone.

Despite the many linebreaks, the halftime score was just 7-5 in the favour of the Drua as turnovers and mistakes saw attacking opportunities go begging.

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The second half added more excitement and the Suva crowd were loving it, some incredible counterattacks from the Drua had the stadium in a party atmosphere.

The game came down to the wire and just like against the Crusaders, it was Kemu Valetini who nailed the match-winning penalties. Fulltime score: 27-24.

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Here’s how the Hurricanes rated:

1. Xavier Numia – 6

Numia was lucky to be awarded his try in the 50th minute as it looked as though he had lost control of the ball, but as Hurricanes fans learnt against the Blues, when there is no clear separation the try may well be awarded.

2. Asafo Aumua – 5

A poorly thrown lineout was an anticlimactic end to the Hurricanes’ first scoring opportunity of the match. One or two further lineouts looked shaky but were good enough for the referee. The Drua did well to nullify Aumua’s physicality too.

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3. Tyrel Lomax – 6.5

Lomax lent his shoulder to some heavy collisions, coming out trumps more often than not. The Hurricanes looked like they underestimated the Drua’s scrum, the Fijian side brought the heat and looked like they could have won themselves more penalties if their intent was not to move the ball and play quickly.

4. Justin Sangster – 7

Sangster was a tackling machine from the outset of this game, making a dozen tackles in the opening 30 minutes. He went on at not quite the same exhaustive rate but still finished as the game’s top defender statistically and his influence was felt.

5. Isaia Walker-Leawere – 3

A 50th Hurricanes appearance in Fiji, the country his father once captained, was a wholesome occasion for the 26-year-old. unfortunately, Walker-Leawere had an absolute shocker. He started the game with some handling errors and missed tackles before being yellow-carded in the 33rd minute. His tackle stats didn’t improve much when he returned to the field and he went on to receive a second yellow card in the 77th minute as the game was in the balance.

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6. Devan Flanders – 6

It was big shift from Flanders, he looked to assert himself physically on the Drua but going a little high in the tackle resulted in a couple of plays where the Drua sensed the opportunity for a leg drive and profited well, even scoring once. While Flanders’ technique could have held up if he had better support from his teammates, in the end it gifted Fiji opportunity and front foot ball.

7. Du’Plessis Kirifi – 5

It was interesting seeing the kind of impact Kirifi had on this match, he’s a player who usually shows up with some exceptional defensive reads and leaves his mark on the game through his work rate, vision and tackle execution. The free-flowing game from the Drua proved a real challenge for Kirifi’s skillset, while he made his tackles at a rate better than most of his teammates, he just couldn’t find a way to make his usual impact on the match.

8. Ardie Savea – 7.5

Savea is impervious to momentum, fluent in any style of game and unfazed by the heat of Suva. The All Black was busy defensively, finishing with just shy of a dozen tackles, he won his side multiple turnovers and had the legs to initiate some attack when the ball came his way.

The unique challenge that Drua pose at home is one that tests any captain, and while the Hurricanes kept their composure and resilience for large periods of the match, their breakdowns in communication and defensive structure handed the Drua some gaping holes to run through.

9. Cameron Roigard – 6

Roigard’s had an exceptional season to date, this match however was not his finest work. His usual physicality was lost on the Drua’s big runners and it took him some time to adjust and start tackling around the ankles. The pace of the ruck was a mixed bag all night as the Drua’s instinctive play left it unchallenged at times and turned it into a real scrap at other times as well. There were no signs of the darts around the ruck from the halfback that we’ve come to know and love in 2023.

10. Aidan Morgan – 4

The young No 10 was put under huge pressure throughout the match, proving his composure early but struggling to initiate attack amongst the Drua’s rapid and physical defence. Finishing the match with more missed tackles than makes is a rough statistic but the 21-year-old saw some great athletes running down his channel.

11. Kini Naholo – 5

Naholo produced brief moments of magic as well as some of misery in the unforgiving conditions. He’ll rue some handling errors and hope for some more quality looks on attack in his next outing.

12. Jordie Barrett – 6.5

Barrett’s speed allowed him to shadow the Drua’s many linebreaks and inject himself defensively when needed. He was uncharacteristically shown up off the tee by Frank Lomani. While he chewed through tackles, making the most of any back in the game, the game management was lacking as the Hurricanes struggled to keep themselves in the right areas of the field.

13. Billy Proctor – 5

Proctor’s never-say-die attitude in the contact is commendable and produced some positive moments for his side, but ultimately this Hurricanes backline was ran around and cut apart too many times and far more than you’d expect from what is usually as competent of a midfield defensively as they come.

14. Julian Savea – 6

A try in the 30th minute saw Savea equal Doug Howlett with 59 tries in Super Rugby, moving him up to second equal on the all-time try-scoring record and just one away from equalling Israel Folau’s record – and he did just that by scoring just three minutes into the second half. Outside of his historic achievements, Savea will no doubt be left with a sour taste after a number of handling errors and limited defensive impact.

15. Josh Moorby – 6

Moorby was put under a heap of pressure by the Fijian’s contestable kicking game and showed great courage claiming the high balls that came his way. Some of the fullback’s decision-making defensively was caught out and the Drua profited on the scoreboard for it.

Reserves:

16. Jacob Devery – 5
17. Tevita Mafileo – 5
18. Owen Franks – 4
19. TK Howden – 6
20. Brayden Iose – 5
21. Jamie Booth – 3
22. Harry Godfrey – 5
23. Salesi Rayasi – 6

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1 Comment
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isaac 416 days ago

A Savea. A player for any weather

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