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Hurricanes power to big victory over Rebels

Super Rugby champions the Hurricanes powered to a 71-6 bonus point victory over Melbourne based franchise the Rebels at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.

The Hurricanes outscored the Rebels by 11 tries to none in the one sided clash.

Nehe Milner-Skudder who missed the 2016 Super Rugby season scored a hat-trick of tries for the Hurricanes on his first match of the season.

Vince Aso and Ngani Laumape added doubles as the defending champions flexed their might to remain undefeated.

In their first return home since they lifted the Super Rugby trophy, the Hurricanes class was on full display and showed why they’re tipped to defend the title with another dominant performance.

Rebels, in search of their maiden victory in Wellington, couldn’t have asked for a better start when Reece Hodge booted the visitors to an early 6-0 lead inside ten minutes.

A booming kick from halfway, reminiscent of his first Wallabies points at the same venue, opened the scoring in the second minute before the inside centre doubled the advantage seven minutes later.

The Hurricanes response was emphatic with five and six tries either side of half-time.

Milner-Skudder scored his first on the quarter-hour when he split the defence after an inside ball from Beauden Barrett put the fullback through a hole.

The hosts doubled their advantage five minutes later when a fortuitous bounce favoured Aso who collected and scored before inside centre Laumape finished off a set piece from a scrum five metres out.

Aso and TJ Peranara combined down the right touchline to put the winger into the corner before he turned provider with an offload to Matt Proctor on half-time to send the Hurricanes into the break with a 31-6 lead.

The Savea brothers added their names to the scoresheet when Ardie scored under the posts two minutes into the second-half and Julian brought up the Hurricane’s half-century in the 64th minute.

Rebels prop Fereti Sa’aga, who was a late inclusion after Laurie Weeks failed to overcome injury, became the ninth player to make his Super Rugby debut in two rounds when he was substituted on with ten minutes remaining.

Milner-Skudder completed his hat-trick with two tries in four minutes and Laumape completed the victory with a 60-metre intercept try on the stroke of full-time.

Next week in Round 3 the Hurricanes travel to Hamilton to play former champions the Chiefs at Waikato Stadium while the Rebels have a bye before they host the Chiefs in Round 4.

Final Score Hurricanes 71 Rebels 6

Scorers

Hurricanes
Tries -Milner-Skudder 3, Aso 2, Laumape 2, Proctor, Ardie Savea, Prinsep, Julian Savea
Pen –
Con -Barrett 6, Black 2
Drop –
Cards –

Rebels
Tries –
Pen -Hodge 2
Con –
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant Ref 1:Will Houston
Assistant Ref 2:Cam Stone
TMO :Aaron Paterson

Teams

Hurricanes

15 Nehe Milner-Skudder , 14 Vince Aso , 13 Matt Proctor , 12 Ngani Laumape , 11 Julian Savea , 10 Beauden Barrett , 9 TJ Perenara , 8 Reed Prinsep , 7 Ardie Savea , 6 Brad Shields , 5 Michael Fatialofa , 4 James Blackwell , 3 Jeffery To’omaga-Allen , 2 Dane Coles (c) , 1 Chris Eves

Replacements : Ricky Riccitelli, Ben May, Mike Kainga, Mark Abbott, Callum Gibbins, Chris Smylie, Otere Black, Jordie Barrett.

Rebels

1. Cruze Ah-Nau , 2. James Hanson , 3. Laurie Weeks , 4. Steve Cummins , 5. Lopeti Timani , 6. Jordy Reid , 7. Colby Fainga’a , 8. Amanaki Mafi , 9. Nic Stirzaker (Captain) , 10. Jackson Garden-Bachop , 11. Tom English , 12. Reece Hodge , 13. Mitch Inman , 14. Marika Koroibete*^ , 15. Jack Debreczeni

Replacements : 16. Pat Leafa , 17. Tom Moloney , 18. Tyrel Lomax , 19. Culum Retallick , 20. Jake Schatz , 21. Ben Meehan , 22. Sione Tuipulotu , 23. Ben Volavola

^Super Rugby debut ,
*Rebels debut