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Hurricanes player ratings vs Highlanders | Super Rugby Pacific

By Tom Vinicombe
Salesi Rayasi. (Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

The Hurricanes have held firm to record a narrow 22-21 win over the Highlanders in Dunedin.

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After building a decent lead early in the second half, the Hurricanes found themselves under pressure late in the match and came within a whisker of losing the game, with the TMO eventually making the right call to deny the Highlanders a try for a double-movement.

The win means the Hurricanes will enter the second stage of Super Rugby Pacific in seventh spot and very much still in contention for a home quarter-final.

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Why rolling maul tries aren’t as bad as they’re made out to be.
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Why rolling maul tries aren’t as bad as they’re made out to be.

How did the Hurricanes players rate in the 1-point game?

1. Pouri Rakete-Stones – 5/10
Pinged for holding onto the ball following one carry when a pass would have been the better option. Wasn’t able to get his running game going. Off in 53rd minute.

2. Asafo Aumua – 7
A solid 80-minute effort from the All Black. Very shakey at lineout time in the opening exchanges but settled down after a few dodgy deliveries. Put in some big hits on defence – including one questionable hit late in the piece. Found his way over the goal line shortly before halftime but couldn’t get the ball down in the tackle of Liam Coltman. Topped the Hurricanes’ tackle count.

3. Tevita Mafileo – 4
Destroyed by Ethan de Groot at the first scrum and was lucky the ball went in and out quickly for the Hurricanes’ first feed or it would have been a similar result. Seemed to find his feet after that. Left the field for an HIA in the 20th minute after copping a high shot from Josh Dickson then rejoined the competition in the 33rd minute. Pinged late in the second half for not releasing the tackled player before going for the steal. Off in 70th minute.

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4. James Blackwell – 5.5
Busy, making tackles and trucking the ball up when needed, but did nothing with any major impact. Off in 65th minute.

5. Isaia Walker-Leawere – 7
Has quickly found his feet after spending the better part of the season on the sidelines. Combined with Ardie Savea on the kick-chase to nab the Hurricanes a turnover early in the second quarter. Earned a penalty at the breakdown a few minutes later to shut down a Highlanders skirmish but couldn’t do anything to prevent Coltman getting over the ball at the next set of attacking phases and the Hurricanes conceded 3 points. Not quite back to his physical best but signs are very promising.

6. Reed Prinsep – 5
Not as industrious as he normally is – though that might be a product of having to back-up after a big effort against Moana Pasifika earlier in ther week. The top lineout target for the Hurricanes but otherwise relatively ineffective. Off in 53rd minute.

 

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7. Blake Gibson – 7
Carried with purpose from the opening stages until the final minutes of the game. Matched Aumua’s defensive efforts and always took a few men to bring him to ground. May have fought his way into the regular starting XV.

8. Ardie Savea – 7
Stood out in the contest for the ball but was actually relatively well contained by the Highlanders defence. Made one typically strong carry in the lead-up to the opening try then disrupted the breakdown not long after to shut down the Highlanders’ first attack. Earned another turnover from a fierce counter ruck at the end of the third quarter. Looked to have prevented a try in the 68th minute after pilfering the ruck, only to have the ball immediately swiped from him (questionably) by Folau Fakatava. Penalised once for kicking the ball out of the breakdown.

9. TJ Perenara – 6
His quick tap early in the piece paved the way for the Hurricanes’ first score. Provided relatively quick and clean ball for his teammates. There shouldn’t be any complaints about his performance. Off in 65th minute.

10. Jackson Garden-Bachop – 4.5
Failed to have much of an impact on the match. Tried to mix up his kicking game but ultimately simply handed the ball back to the Highlanders. Bumped off more than once on defence. Might have lost his starting jersey. Off in 72nd minute.

11. Salesi Rayasi – 8
Perhaps his most complete performance in a Hurricanes jersey. Got himself involved regularly throughout the game, popping up all over the show. A scything run in the 21st minute off a Hurricanes lineout was all that was needed for the Hurricanes’ second try of the evening. Penalised once for not releasing the tackled player before going for the steal. Made a nice break to kick off the second half. Set up the Hurricanes’ final try with a great run and offload down the left. Clocked up over 120 metres with the ball in hand.

12. Jordie Barrett – 6
Had very limited opportunities in the midfield, with the Highlanders not affording him any room to move. Got himself in the perfect position to take a midfield bomb under the Highlanders’ posts early in the game but couldn’t quite make the catch. Attempted one drop goal from almost 50 metres out but it never threatened the sticks. Surprisingly, dropped a second high ball – this time on the defence – early in the second quarter. Switched to fullback late in the piece.

13. Bailyn Sullivan – 6.5
Showed off his attacking prowess in the first 10 minutes, jinking through some weak Highlanders tackles for the first try. Made one nice tackle which dislodged the ball out of Fetuli Paea’s grasp and was generally busy on defence. Won’t have done his chances of reselection any harm.

14. Julian Savea – 6
A nice offload in the lead-up to the Hurricanes’ first try kept the ball alive and the Highlanders under pressure. A damaging run at the end of the second quarter almost earned the Hurricanes their second, but Savea knocked on while trying to get the ball over the line.

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15. Josh Moorby – 4.5
Looked solid with the ball in hand but too often wasn’t able to link up with his teammates. Not as impressive as in his debut start against the Crusaders last weekend. Probably needs another run or two to gauge his capabilities. Off in 65th minute.

Reserves:

16. Kianu Kereru-Symes – N/A
Never took the field.

17. Xavier Numia – 5
On in 53rd minute. Penalised immediately for collapsing a scrum, alongside his tighthead teammate.

18. Pasilio Tosi – 5
On as an HIA replacement in the 20th minute. Knocked on with his first touch – although it was a late pass from Garden-Bachop – and was then penalised for not rolling away at the ruck. On permanently in the 70th minute.

19. Justin Sangster – N/A
On in 65th minute.

20. Caleb Delany – 6
On in 53rd minute. Busy in his time on the field, notching up eight tackles.

21. Jamie Booth – N/A
On in 65th minute.

22. Adian Morgan – N/A
On in 72nd minute. Ran a great support line to nab himself a late try.

23. Peter Umaga-Jensen – N/A
On in 65th minute.

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