Julian Savea scored a try double as the Hurricanes blustered to a scrappy 35-13 win against the Rebels in Wellington on Friday.
Dubbed ‘The Bus’ during his 54-Test All Blacks career, Savea notched a brace as the Hurricanes scored five tries to two in this Super Rugby Trans-Tasman skirmish.
The Rebels have never won in the New Zealand capital and have only one win over the Hurricanes in nine meetings.
But captain Dane Coles said the hosts had to work hard for a victory in which late tries blew out the scoreline.
‘I thought they hung in there real good but we kept chipping away,’ he said. ‘We kept turning up, we let in a couple of soft tries but it was a hell of an improvement on last week.’
Rebels captain Matt Toomua was also pleased with the gains made by his team after being held try-less during the opening round in a 50-3 drubbing by the Blues.
‘We were a bit disappointed on the transitions there, but the game had everything,’ he said. ‘There were lots of tries and even a streaker, so I think everyone got their money’s worth.’
The Hurricanes showed a willingness to throw the ball around in the opening exchanges but were frustrated by much-improved defence from the visitors.
Savea, 30, opened the scoring with an intercept try that saw him sprint home from near the halfway line. Stade Francais-bound Ngani Laumape then found space to set up Billy Proctor for the Hurricanes’ second.
It was 14-3 at the break and flanker Michael Wells scored for the Rebels seven minutes after the restart.
The Hurricanes responded in style through Savea, who outpaced a flailing defender on the wing for his second.
A Campbell Magnay try gave the Rebels a glimmer of hope before five pointers to Wes Goosen and Asafo Aumua sealed the win for the Hurricanes.
© Agence France-Presse