The Hurricanes have given the Melbourne Rebels a Super Rugby reality check, inflicting a 50-19 loss.Beauden Barrett has shown the Melbourne Rebels who’s boss, steering his Hurricanes to a 50-19 win in an action-packed Good Friday Super Rugby clash.
The All Blacks five-eighth was all class and composure at AAMI Park as the winless run of n teams against Kiwi opponents stretched to 33.
Bustling Hurricanes winger Ben Lam also proved a handful, grabbing four tries among their haul of seven as his team piled on 42 unanswered points.
While Melbourne sat on top of the Super Rugby ladder heading into the match, the result delivered a reality check in the face of their title ambitions.
Despite the scoreline, Rebels coach Dave Wessels argued there were still some positives. He said the Hurricanes had set a benchmark for his team.
“The game was an opportunity for us to set a marker – what are the things we need to improve on in the next couple of months to be genuinely competitive at the really top end,” he said.
“The Hurricanes are the most dominant team in Super Rugby over the last couple of years.
“I thought in the first half we played some really good rugby and ultimately we lost the game because they controlled the field better.
“If we keep improving in the way we have come July when it’s playoff time, we can be a lot more competitive in the scoreline.”
The Rebels raced ahead 19-8 thanks to a Matt Philip try and four penalty strikes by Jack Debreczeni.
Melbourne No.8 Amanaki Mafi played like a man possessed, clocking a stunning 15 runs and 100m in 40 minutes before being replaced at halftime after a head knock.
But the men from Wellington showed why they have been to Super Rugby’s finals for the past three seasons and were champions in 2016, with Barrett leading them back and keeping the Rebels scoreless from that point.
A flurry of points in the last seven minutes of the first half did the damage.
Lam grabbed his second try as Debreczeni allowed a Barrett kick to bounce. He thought it was going out but it instead landed in the arms of Lam who raced to touch down.
In the final minute of the half Barrett dummied and glided through untouched for his team to take a 25-19 lead.
Melbourne’s hopes of of a second-half revival faded as the visitors showed they still had plenty in the tank, while their defence was rock-solid.
Hard-running Hurricanes No.8 Gareth Evans spotted a hole in the 49th minute to extend the scoreline to 14 points.
When a Rebels try went begging as Debreczeni’s last pass went to ground, the task grew too big for the home side, with tries by Hurricanes centre Ngani Laumape and two more from Lam fittingly capping the night.