The Hurricanes have won their first match of the 2021 Super Rugby Aotearoa season, defeating the Highlanders 30-19 at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.

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Jordie Barrett scored the first points of the night with a penalty, before adding a try to his tally soon after, and then a conversion. His 10-points in the first 10 minutes basically sums up the tale of the match, with Barrett actually scoring all of the Hurricanes’ 30-points.

The visitors defended for a lot of the match, with the Highlanders having had 62% of possession at the half-time break. At that stage, the Canes had been down to 14-men for 10 minutes, but it didn’t disrupt them in the end.

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Dave Rennis interview | Super Rugby AU

Overall the Canes performed when they needed to, earning a much-needed win.

Here’s how the Hurricanes rated against the Highlanders.

  1. Xavier Numia – 7/10

The Highlanders had the better of the Hurricanes’ scrum, and that’s got to reflect in both Numia and Tyrel Lomax’s ratings. That being said though, Numia did make 10 tackles, without missing any. The loosehead prop also claimed a turnover at the breakdown in the 11th minute.

  1. Dane Coles – 7.5

Coles was impressive in his first Super Rugby Aotearoa match for the 2021 season, making his mark around the field and at the set-piece. The Hurricanes’ captain was nearly perfect when throwing into the lineout, completing seven from eight on the night. Coles was also involved in the lead-up to Jordie Barrett’s opening try, firstly, he was a core part of the play which led to the Canes having a lineout five metres out from the line. He also won a crucial penalty at the breakdown in the 25th minute, with the Highlanders only a metre or so out from the line – and just after the Canes had gone down to 14-men.

  1. Tyrel Lomax – 6.5

Lomax made a literal big impact to start the match, basically sending Highlanders centre Michael Collins into next week with a solid tackle. He then jumped back onto his feet and helped his side secure the turnover. From there, he kept busy around the field. However, he was yellow-carded in the 24th minute for incorrectly entering a maul.

  1. Scott Scrafton – 8

In my opinion, Scrafton was one of the best performing Hurricanes players in the match. He’s regularly a tireless performer for his side and we saw that again against the Highlanders, with some great efforts, especially in defence. He was also the go-to man for the visitors at the lineout and also won one against the throw in the 15th minute.

  1. Isaia Walker-Leawere – 7.5

Walker-Leawere put in a lot of effort to get involved, including on defence where the Canes spent most of their time as a team. The lock made 12 tackles but did miss three. He did, however, give away a penalty in the 32nd minute which led to Bryn Evans’ try for the Highlanders, when he had a Canes penalty reversed for pushing. Still, generally, I thought he performed well, as he made his mark on the contest.

  1. Reed Prinsep – 7

This week, Prinsep put in another solid shift for the Canes, in a match which saw the visitors spend most of their time on defence. He made 10 tackles and missed none, as well as having five carries.

  1. Du’Plessis Kirifi – 8

Kirifi was one of, if not the hardest working Hurricanes player in round four. Not only did he make the most run metres of any Canes forward with 24, but he also topped the charts for the most tackles of any player on the night with 19.

  1. Ardie Savea – 7.5

Once again, Savea showed his elite work rate around the field, including at the breakdown and in attack. While he did have the most carries of any Hurricanes forward (seven), he came in fourth from their starting forwards for metres run with eight. He was made to work for every metre but it didn’t stop him from giving it his all.

  1. Luke Campbell – 7

Campbell was reliable for the Hurricanes, providing his side with accurate ball when they needed it in attack. He was of course involved in Jordie Barrett’s first try, helping spread the ball wide-right.

  1. Orbyn Leger – 6.5

Coming into the side, Leger performed good enough in a match which was dominated by Jordie Barrett. As a flyhalf though, he only had three passes in attack, and made a further three runs. That being said, defensively, he made the equal second-most tackles of any Hurricanes back (seven).

  1. Salesi Rayasi – 8

Rayasi was another one of the Hurricanes’ top performers this weekend, having run the most metres of any player Canes player with 47 metres from six carries. But two standout moments from his performance have to be noted. In the first-half, the Landers looked as if they were about to cross for a try in the corner, but after Vahaakolo was dragged down by Jordie Barrett, Rayasi got over the ball and won a penalty just a metre or so out from the line. Then, just before the break, he threw a classy offload to Barrett for a try.

  1. Ngani Laumape – 8

In my opinion, Laumape was particularly impressive in the second-half, where I thought he made more of an impact on the match. He had a try assist early in the second term, with a strong run laying the foundation for the phases that would lead to Barrett’s second try. He then threw the pass to Barrett. The inside centre made the most tackles of any Canes back with nine, and ran for the second-most metres of any Canes player with 31.

  1. Billy Proctor – 7 

Arguably Proctor’s standout moment from the match came 13 minutes in, when he became the second Hurricanes player that night to put a big tackle on Collins. Other than that though, he struggled to really make a significant impact on the match.

  1. Wes Goosen – 6.5

Sometimes being a winger can be tough, with the ball just not going Goosen’s way. While he did make seven tackles, he only had one run.

  1. Jordie Barrett – 9.5

If you didn’t watch the match, 9.5 probably seems like a simply unbelievable rating. But Jordie Barrett scored all of the Hurricanes’ 30-points, in an individual performance that couldn’t really be faulted. His points scoring haul included a hat-trick of tries, starting with his first in the ninth minute. Jumping ahead to his third try, it was a massive spiral kick which was dropped by Mitch Hunt, which led to the score. His kicking both out of hand and off the tee was pretty well perfect. Add a try-saving tackle to that as well – incredible. He was the star without a question for the Hurricanes this week.

Replacements:

  1. Ricky Riccitelli – 7.5

Came on for Dane Coles in the 49th minute and stood out, especially on defence. Riccitelli actually made 11 tackles, which is quite impressive considering he only played for just over half an hour.

  1. Fraser Armstrong – n/a
  2. Tevita Mafileo – n/a
  3. Liam Mitchell – 6.5

Made eight tackles off the bench. Impressive.

  1. Devan Flanders – 6
  2. Jonathan Taumateine – 6
  3. Peter Umaga-Jensen – n/a
  4. Ruben Love – n/a

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