Julian Savea scored a hat-trick of tries as the Hurricanes clinched a bonus-point 40-22 win over the Jaguares in Wellington on Saturday. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
The Hurricanes came into the clash on a three-match winning streak, and again there were clear signs that last year’s runners-up are beginning to work their way into some promising form.
Savea had been recalled for this game after being asked to spend some time working on his conditioning, and he certainly looked to have a point to prove during an industrious all-round performance, which was duly rewarded with three well-taken tries.
The Canes would have also been thrilled to clinch the try-scoring bonus point with the final play of the game as replacement Ben May barged over for the hosts' sixth try.
Although the Canes struck first through an opportunistic Beauden Barrett try, the Argentinian side deservedly worked their way into a 12-7 lead as first No 8 Leonardo Senatore barged over before centre Matías Moroni cantered away for an intercept try in the 32nd minute.
At that point, the Canes were staring at a half-time deficit, but in a decisive double strike within the final couple of minutes before the break, Savea finished off two well-worked tries as the hosts suddenly burst into a 21-12 lead.
The Canes would have been grateful to have snuck into a handy lead at the break considering the struggles they’d endured at the breakdown in the opening stanza, with the Jaguares once again contesting strongly and disrupting opposition ball.
At half-time, a frustrated Canes coach Chris Body said they’d look to be more direct in the second period, and they certainly played with real intent after the restart. Outstanding hooker Dane Coles edged the Canes further as he darted over for his team’s fourth try just before the hour mark, while Savea then went over for another as the Canes effectively opened up an unassailable 18-point lead with 15 minutes left to play.
The Jaguares did manage to hit back with a try to captain Martín Landajo in the 70th minute, but there was just too much ground to make up, and the Canes would have the final say when May went over to score the all-important bonus-point try.
Hurricanes – Tries: Beauden Barrett, Julian Savea (3), Dane Coles, Ben May. Conversions: Barrett (5).
Jaguares – Tries: Leonardo Senatore, Matías Moroni, Martín Landajo. Conversions: Nicolás Sánchez (2). Penalty: Sánchez.
Hurricanes – 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Willis Halaholo, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Blade Thomson, 4 Michael Fatialofa, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (c), 1 Reggie Goodes.
Subs: 16 Motu Matu’u, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Ben May, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Otere Black, 23 Matt Proctor.
Jaguares – 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Matiás Orlando, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Santiago González Iglesias, 11 Manuel Montero, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo (c), 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Rodrigo Baez, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Julián Montoya, 1 Santiago García Botta.
Subs: 16 Facundo Bosch, 17 Roberto Tejerizo, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Juan Cruz Guillemaín, 20 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Jerónimo de la Fuente, 23 Ramiro Moyano.
Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images