The opening match of Round 10 of Super Rugby Aotearoa was played out between the cellar-dwellers at Sky Stadium this evening, with the hosts emerging victorious 41-22 in a physical, entertaining but mistake-riddled performance.
The result is exactly what the Hurricanes required after a disappointing campaign to date and the Trans-Tasman competition on the near horizon. There were promising signs for Hurricanes’ fans moving forward.
This is how the Hurricanes rated.
1. Xavier Numia – 6/10
There is plenty to like about this bloke, he played with real intent in all aspects of play and looked far from daunted by the level of rugby he was playing. A robust performance by a player who should be given further development opportunities.
2. Dane Coles – 6.5
He was dangerous! He was a danger to the Highlanders when he wanted to play rugby, and a danger to his own side when he wasn’t and instead focussing on the niggle. Not sure the niggle actually achieved anything at all apart from a slice of cheese and a rest.
3. Tyrel Lomax – 5
Not his best night out. He was dominated by Ethan de Groot in the scrum and despite looking for work in general play, his running lines at were at times lateral. Has better rugby in him.
4. James Blackwell – 6.5
Another workhorse performance on both sides of the ball. When there was an ugly job to be done, he put up his hand time and time again as his team required of him. Topped the Canes tackle count but also dropped off a few. Overall, a really respectable shift.
5. Scott Scrafton – 7
Industrious performance. Lead from the front and really looked to impose himself on the Highlanders which was exactly what his team needed at a time when the match was very much in the balance. The main lineout man for Wellington tonight and generally did his bit.
6. Reed Prinsep – 7
Enjoyed his game. A very credible performance defensively and brought some real physicality in that department despite a range of plays where his side were falling off first-up tackles. He improved the defence when it was needed. Stole a lineout to thwart a Highlanders surge.
7. Du’Plessis Kirifi – 7.5
Had a very good day out with several turnovers and a try after supporting the inside line off a Reuben Love break. Despite this good work, he was prone to the odd error like throwing passes that were not required, but generally a really good night out for him.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 30, 2021
8. Devan Flanders – 7
Was a real handful for the Highlanders on attack. He popped up out wide and in the tight and cashed in finishing off an excellent team try after a short side raid.
9. Luke Campbell – 5
This guy has the talent but his decision making and execution at times tonight really stifled and hampered the Hurricanes. Passes to no one, slow to the ruck at times and made some defensive misreads. He didn’t appear to ever give his side the rhythm and tempo they needed to settle into their work.
10. Ruben Love – 6
What a raw talent. Despite a number of mistakes, including dropping a ball when well on the attack, there was much to like about his performance tonight. Without Jordie Barrett in this side, however, it would take a brave man to suggest that Love could run the offence on his own.
11. Salesi Rayasi – 6
In attack, he was superb – yet he has defensive frailties and, furthermore, his body height going into the ruck is questionable. There is plenty to like about his performance but he is still very much a work-in-progress player.
12. Ngani Laumape – 7
Big night out for the All Blacks second five. He owned that midfield, scoring a wonderful try himself after tracking a Jordie Barrett kick, and set another up for the young flanker Braydon Iose. However, he should give away the short kicking game when on the attack in the opponent’s 22.
13. Billy Proctor – 5.5
Didn’t really get himself into the match individually but linked nicely with those around him.
14. Julian Savea – 5.5
Questionable night defensively, coupled with glimpses of the Julian Savea of yesteryear in attack.
15. Jordie Barrett – 6.5
Not his best night in defence but was the organiser up the back that guided the Hurricanes home with, more often than not, electing the right attacking option when in possession. He was physical into contact and lead the way despite a wayward night with the boot
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 30, 2021
16. Asafo Aumua – 7
Brought all his physicality when he came on – which is what was exactly required of him.
17. Fraser Armstrong – 5
Did his bit and didn’t let his team down but didn’t ignite them as perhaps a sub should.
18. Alex Fidow – N/A
19. Isaia Walker-Leawere – N/A
20. Brayden Iose – N/A
Only on for a short period of time but scored a try that has put the rugby public on notice. Keep an eye on him.
21. Cam Roigard – 6
Played well and played big. His options were far better tonight than that of Luke Campbell and is worth a start in the Hurricanes’ next outing.
22. Peter Umaga-Jensen – N/A
23. Pepesana Patafilo – N/A
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