The Hurricanes have exploded into life in their opening Super Rugby Aotearoa match of the year, with powerful hooker Asafo Aumua crashing over for a scintillating try against the Blues.
Trailing 7-0 early in the first half after Blues flanker Dalton Papalii scored off a Vaea Fifita mistake near his own tryline, the Hurricanes responded immediately after finding themselves just inside the opposition’s half.
Spreading the ball through the hands in between the Blues’ 10 metre mark and the halfway line, Julian Savea decided to take the defensive line on, bursting through a gap between Papalii and Harry Plummer.
The big left wing, playing in his first game for the Hurricanes since returning to the Wellington franchise from French giants Toulon last year, then popped an offload to the supporting Jackson Garden-Bachop, who then cut the ball back to Fifita.
The rangy loose forward stroll up to the 22 metre mark, sucking in the tackle attempts of Hoskins Sotutu and Sam Nock before offloading to Jonathan Taumateine, who was sacked from behind by Akira Ioane.
Quick recycled ball allowed Ardie Savea to fling a cut out ball to James Blackwell, who shovelled the ball onto Billy Proctor in the wide channels.
The young midfielder didn’t hesitate in finding Aumua on the 22 metre mark, which is where the magic started as the blockbusting rake charged towards the Blues defence.
After surveying his options, Aumua opted to run straight at Stephen Perofeta and Kurt Eklund, but neither defender could drag him down as he shrugged them both off with ease.
Despite tripping over Eklund’s flailing arm, the 23-year-old evaded the wayward tackle attempts of Nock and Rieko Ioane, neither of whom could hold Aumua on the ground.
As such, he was allowed to get up and go again, which is exactly was he did with the tryline in sight, and neither Mark Telea nor Caleb Clarke were quick enough to stop him as he stretched out and scored a wonderfully-taken try.
The play exemplified the brute strength and power Aumua possesses, and the one-test All Black will no doubt be called upon in the second half with his side leading 11-7 at half-time.
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