The Hurricanes have finished their Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign off with a disappointing display against the Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium, losing 38-21. The Canes were the better side in the first half, and could’ve piled on more points but were unable to execute when it counted.

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Jamie Booth was the best player on the park throughout the first forty-minutes, running in support to finish or prolong a couple of counter attacks from his side. Booth ran in support of Jordie Barrett five minutes in, a play that started 30-metres out from the Canes line, but finished with Vince Aso crossing in the corner.

The two sides headed into the sheds at the half-time locked at 14-all.

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After bursting on to the scene for the Hurricanes in Super Rugby 2019, the energetic flanker has caught the eye of rugby fans with his ability to get over the ball and handy support lines.

The home side took control in the second and the Hurricanes had no answers, with the Highlanders going on a 24-0 run to secure the win. Hurricanes number eight Ardie Savea was yellow carded with just under 25-minutes to play, and a penalty try was also given which gave the Highlanders all the momentum.

While the Hurricanes were impressive in the first and that does have to count for something, it’s an 80-minute game. Here’s how the Hurricanes rated in the final match of Super Rugby Aotearoa:

1. Ben May – 5.5/10

In his final match in Super Rugby, the experienced loosehead prop was largely ineffective against the Highlanders. While the Canes had a stable scrum, he made the fewest tackles of any starting forward and only had three carries as well.

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2. Dane Coles – 5.5

It was a frustrating night for the All Blacks hooker. While he was accurate in his few opportunities throwing into the lineout, he didn’t get much of an opportunity to shine in either attack or defence.

3. Tyrel Lomax – 6

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In a poor Hurricanes display, Lomax managed to reach double figures in defence. He also got involved a few times in attack but his impact is still not quite there.

4. James Blackwell – 7

Blackwell is probably the hardest working guy in the Hurricanes side. When the going got tough on Saturday and the Canes were down by a big score, the second rower was constantly getting busy in both attack and defence.

5. Scott Scrafton – 7.5

In a losing side, Scrafton was at times a shining light for the Hurricanes. He created the break for the opening five-pointer of the match with a brilliant cut-out, bounce pass to Jordie Barrett. The lock also nearly sent Prinsep over for a try later in the half had it have not been for a forward pass. Most impressively, he was regularly a nuisance for the Highlanders lineout during the dominant first half. He had less of an impact after the break with his side on the back foot, but he still did his job.

6. Reed Prinsep – 6.5

Prinsep worked really hard against the Highlanders, both with brave runs and tough defence. He thought he’d scored a try in the fast half, running a direct line off Scrafton that saw him run through the Landers defence and under the posts from 40m; but the play was called back for a forward pass. Strong night in defence, especially around the breakdown, finishing with 12 tackles. Even when the scoreboard began to tick for the Landers, Prinsep didn’t stop, putting in a solid shift.

7. Du’Plessis Kirifi – 7

It was a quiet night in attack for the 23-year-old, who didn’t really get a chance to run in space. But the scoreboard could’ve been a lot uglier for the men from the capital had it not been for the flanker’s defensive performance – finishing with the most tackles of any player in the match with 18.

8. Ardie Savea – 6.5

Every time Savea gets his hands on the ball, he looks dangerous; constantly crossing the gain line with defenders hanging off him. Had a moment to forget that cost his dearly in the 57th minute, when he was yellow carded and gave away a penalty try for infringements around a Highlanders driving maul close to the line.

9. Jamie Booth – 8

Even though the Hurricanes were well outplayed in the second half, they were the better team in the first and Jamie Booth was a large reason as to why that was. Coming in to replace co-captain TJ Perenara, Booth was the Hurricanes best player on Saturday afternoon. He both helped his side maintain their fast tempo and ran the ball with effectiveness while he was on the park. The scrumhalf also contributed heavily to the opening try, and scored a try of his own later in the first.

10. Jackson Garden-Bachop – 6.5

His organisation and leadership is probably his best traits on the rugby field, and that was clear throughout the first half, setting up the break that led to Jamie Booth’s try. Obviously Garden-Bachop struggled in the second as did his teammates, so there’ll be plenty of lessons learned heading into the Mitre 10 Cup season.

11. Chase Tiatia – 6.5

Every time he got the ball, it was an injection of energy for his side but he was unable to do anything with due to the Highlanders strong defence. Tiatia had a try ruled out 10-minutes into the second half for obstruction.

12. Peter Umaga-Jensen – 7

Switching to inside centre for this week, Umaga-Jensen still managed to score a try late in what’s been an impressive Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign for the 22-year-old. Didn’t have as much space to roam though and struggled at times because of it.

13. Billy Proctor – 6

Despite his energy, Proctor wasn’t able to make an impact against the Highlanders with limited carries.

14. Vince Aso – 7

It wasn’t a surprise to see Aso, a proven try scorer, cross over for the first try of the match; finishing off what might’ve been the try of the season. He was millimetres from a second later in the half, but he stepped into touch bizarrely without a defender pressuring him to do so.

15. Jordie Barrett – 6.5

Barrett has really stood up as a playmaker this season, and showed that again in the first half; he nearly set up Aso for his second try had the winger not stepped into touch. Some tough hits in defence as well, so it’ll be fun to see where, how and if he fits into representative plans going forward.

Reserves:

16. Ricky Riccitelli – 5.5/10

17. Tevita Mafileo – 6.5/10

Was effective when he got his hands on the ball.

18. Pouri Rakete-Stones – 5.5/10

19. Liam Mitchell – 5.5/10

20. Devan Flanders – 6/10

21. Jonathan Taumateine – N/A

22. Danny Toala – N/A

23. Salesi Rayasi – N/A

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