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Savea in spotlight for all the wrong reasons as Rebels fall to Hurricanes

Hurricanes captain Ardie Savea (L) fights with Rebels' Aidan Morgan during the Super Rugby match between the Melbourne Rebels and Wellington Hurricanes at the AAMI Park in Melbourne on March 3, 2023. (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

Captain Ardie Savea has led the Hurricanes to a heart-stopping Super Rugby Pacific win over Melbourne but could find himself in trouble after threatening a Rebels player with a throat-slitting gesture.


The Hurricanes edged the Rebels 39-33 in their Super Round clash at AAMI Park on Friday night, delivering the home side’s second straight loss to open their season.

Richard Hardwick scored twice within seven minutes for Melbourne to trail by just a point but a 77th minute try by Hurricanes ace Jordie Barrett sealed the win.

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Savea was hero and villain, scoring two early tries and setting up another as the visitors roared to a 24-7 half-time lead.

The All Blacks weapon was given a yellow card for his involvement in an all-in brawl just before break.

As he walked off, a fired-up Savea gestured to Melbourne halfback Ryan Louwrens, prompting teammate Reece Hodge to complain to referee James Doleman, ‘he’s threatening to kill him’.

But there was no further action with Savea apologising after the match.


“I can understand the fans are furious around the gesture that I made,” Savea told Stan Sport.

“It was a heat-of-the-moment kind of thing, that’s footy but I understand, kids are watching us.

“That’s out of character for me so I put my hand up and I apologise for that … I’ve got to be better.”

The Hurricanes were down to 13 men when reserve prop Tevita Mafileo was yellow-carded just two minutes into the half, with his sloppy clean-out then upgraded to a red card by the Television Match Official in a new competition rule.


Melbourne were first on the board in the second half with winger Lachie Anderson winning the race to a kick by young five-eighth Carter Gordon into the in-goal.

Gordon himself then picked up a five-pointer after he scooped up a loose Hurricanes ball and raced more than 70 metres, chased all the way by Savea.

Hodge added the extras to close the gap to 24-19 after 56 minutes, with the spite draining out of the mcatch.

The Hurricanes kicked away again with Barrett booting a penalty and then firing a pass for flying winger Salesi Rayasi to dive across in the corner.

Hardwick’s efforts gave the Rebels hope but the Hurricanes held on to savour their second Australian scalp after accounting for the Reds in round one.


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