Hurricanes thrashed Fijian Drua 67-5 in a one-sided Super Rugby Pacific clash at Sky Stadium, Wellington.
The Hurricanes ran in 11 tries, racking up a half-century in the process, against a feeble Fijian Drua in New Zealand’s capital.
Josh Moorby scored a hat-trick, while Billy Proctor, and Wes Goosen both bagged braces as the Hurricanes ran rampant over a lacklustre Fijian Drua, who was off the pace.
This was the Fijian’s worst performance in super Rugby Pacific this season. Byrne’s men lacked focus, attitude, and desire, which is damning.
Asafo Aumua, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Salesi Rayasi, and Justin Sangster also crossed for the New Zealand outfit at a windy Cake Tin.
Fijian Drua never looked like scoring, but the tourists did manage one score late in the game when Onisi Ratave crossed. But that was all the visitors offered.
Mick Byrne’s side spent most of the night slipping off tackles as they failed to replicate last weekend’s impressive performance versus the Highlanders in Suva.
This was a step backwards for the islanders, who seemed to give up before halftime.
Hurricanes youngsters shine in the Wellington gloom
Aidan Morgan had a poor day from the tee. He landed six conversions from 11 attempts (12 pts).
Morgan did, however, have a sublime game at first five-eighth.
The young playmaker had a hand in almost every try, with assists for Rayasi and Proctor’s second.
Proctor was sublime in the centre with partner Bailyn Sullivan, who claimed a couple of assists himself.
Tyler Laubscher, on debut, had a monster match. The number eight went close a couple of times, claiming two assists of his own.
The South African-born No 8. carried for 46 metres from eight runs with a linebreak while beating three defenders. He also made a mammoth 13 tackles.
Goosen, Moorby, Rayasi, and Cam Roigard also registered assists in the 11-score romp.
Jason Holland’s men move to 6-5 from their 11 matches in Super Rugby Pacific, while Byrne’s side stays in the 11th spot with just one win in 2022.
The Hurricanes began well and never let the Fijian Drua settle
The Hurricanes were comfortable in possession (63%). They went past 7+ phases on four occasions with seven linebreaks to score four times in the first half.
The first attack of the game went more than three minutes and 18 phases before Rayasi dropped the ball.
Moorby, usually a winger, had a fantastic game at fullback. He scored twice in the first stanza while having a hand in Aumua and Proctor’s tries.
The 23-year-old playmaker gained 94 metres from seven carries while beating seven defenders with three linebreaks. That was just the first half alone.
The hat-trick hero finished with 129 metres from 11 runs with four linebreaks while beating eight defenders.
Moorby also found time to make six tackles during the one-sided affair.
The Canes spent most of the opening period inside the opposition’s half (70%).
After staving off the home team for the initial moments, the Drua cracked.
The Hurricanes went wide from the lineout to Moorby, who bounced off a tackle to open the scoring. Moorby was soon involved again.
The fullback’s linebreak opened up the visitors. His elusive run saw Laubscher and TJ Perenara go close.
The Canes recycled the ball wide to hooker Aumua – on the wing – to score.
Morgan could not convert, but the hosts led 12-0 after 21 minutes.
Before the half-hour, Morgan sent Rayasi through a gap with a deft pass. The winger charged down the wing before drawing the last defender to put Proctor away.
Moments later, the Canes went quickly off the top of another lineout to Perenara.
The veteran halfback sent a long cutout pass to Sullivan, who played Moorby on the run. The fullback fended off Selestino Ravutaumada to score his second.
Morgan again converted to make it 26-0 at the interval.
Wes Goosen’s brace kills the game as a contest as the Hurricanes run away with the match after halftime
The Hurricanes scored 41 points after the break, scoring another seven tries to crush the Drua.
Things went downhill quickly for the tourists after the break. Goosen notched a quickfire brace to make it 38-0 after 48 minutes.
The first try came off the back of a quick lineout near the Drua try line.
The Canes went quickly to Morgan, who combined with Sullivan to send Goosen away untouched in the corner.
Laubscher, on debut and having a great game. He was involved twice in Goosen’s second try with two barnstorming runs before popping to the winger for his double.
Walker-Leawere collected the omnipresent Laubscher’s deft pass, broke a couple of tackles, and raced away to score.
Rayasi got in on the act as well. He beat two defenders after Morgan sent him away down the sideline.
Rayasi’s score brought up the half-century minutes after the hour mark. Holland’s charges showed no sign of letting up.
Morgan, ever involved, was at it again when he put Proctor away untouched for the centre’s second of the afternoon.
The Fijians scored from a scrum after the ball was carried over the home team’s goalline.
Drua sent the ball to Ratave and slipped a tackle to get his team on the board… after 67 minutes.
With less than eight to play Moorby had three before Sangster crashed over for his first Super Rugby.
Riley Higgins was yellow-carded for a dangerous tackle on Super Rugby Pacific debut.
Final Score: Hurricanes 67 (26) Fijian Drua 5 (0)
Tries – Moorby (3), Aumua, Proctor (2), Goosen (2), Walker-Leawere, Rayasi, Sangster
Con – Morgan (6)
Cards – Higgins (Yellow, 82′)
Tries – Ratave
Referee: James Doleman
Assistant Ref 1: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 2: Dan Waenga
TMO: Chris Hart
Hurricanes: 15 Josh Moorby, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Bailyn Sullivan, 12 Billy Proctor, 11 Salesi Rayasi, 10 Aidan Morgan, 9 TJ Perenara (captain), 8 Tyler Laubscher, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Blake Gibson, 5 Justin Sangster, 4 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Asafo Aumua, 1 Xavier Numia.
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Tevita Mafileo, 18 Owen Franks, 19 Caleb Delany, 20 TK Howden, 21 Cam Roigard, 22 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23 Riley Higgens.
Fijian Drua: 15 Kitione Taliga, 14 Selestino Ravutaumada, 13 Apsialome Vota, 12 Jona Mataiciwa, 11 Kitione Ratu, 10 Caleb Muntz, 9 Simione Kuruvoli, 8 Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, 7 Kitione Salawa, 6 Meli Derenalagi (captain), 5 Sorovakatini Tuifagalele, 4 Isoa Nasilasila, 3 Samuela Tawake, 2 Zuriel Togiatama, 1 Haereiti Hetet.
Replacements: 16 Tevita Ikanivere, 17 Meli Tuni, 18 Manasa Saulo, 19 Chris Minimbi, 20 Joseva Tamani, 21 Leone Nawai, 22 Teti Tela, 23 Onisi Ratave.