The Hurricanes continued their unbeaten start to the Super Rugby season with a convincing 42-13 win over the Western Force in Perth on Friday.
The ‘Canes outscored their hosts five tries to one to claim their third-straight victory on the road and stretch their winning run against the Force to seven games. The scoreline also represents the Perth side’s biggest ever home loss.
The result also provisionally moves the Hurricanes five points clear at the top of the Super Rugby overall table (although the Stormers and Chiefs could close the gap on Saturday).
Tries from wing Cory Jane and lock Mark Abbott helped the Hurricanes to a 15-6 lead at the interval before further scores after the break from number eight Victor Vito and wing Julian Savea secured a full house of points for the men from Wellington.
Force replacement back Mitchell Scott scored a late consolation try for the hosts, who were well-beaten, but Hurricanes full-back James Marshall rubbed salt into their wounds with a fifth try in the last minute.
Zack Holmes opened the scoring from the kicking tee for the Force but the ‘Canes were first to get over the whitewash. Julian Savea has butchered a chance earlier on, but set up the first try of the game with a barnstorming run. The ball was shifted quickly to the opposite wing, where Cory Jane crossed on the end of the overlap.
Beauden Barrett missed the conversion but the visitors soon moved further ahead as Abbott crashed over under the sticks from close range. Barrett added the extras to put the Hurricanes 12-3 up after 25 minutes.
Barrett and Luke Burton traded penalties before the half-time hooter and the Hurricanes fly-half added tow more early in the second period to leave the visitors 21-6 ahead approaching the hour mark.
Vito and Savea charged over in quick succession to end the game as a contest as the Hurricanes simply outmuscled their hosts, who couldn’t keep up with the pace.
Scott broke clear to score from long range but the Canes had the last laugh as Marshall capped an impressive night for the Kiwi side.
For Western Force:
Pens: Holmes, Burton
Tries: Jane, Abbott, Vito, J. Savea, Marshall
Cons: Barrett 2, Marshall 2
Pens: Barrett 3
Western Force: 15 Luke Burton, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Kyle Godwin, 12 Solomoni Jnr Rasolea, 11 Marcel Brache, 10 Zack Holmes, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Brynard Stander, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Steve Mafi, 4 Sam Wykes (c), 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pekahou Cowan
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Oliver Hoskins, 19 Rory Walton, 20 Kane Koteka, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Sias Ebersohn, 23 Mitchell Scott tbc
Hurricanes: 15 James Marshall, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Chris Smylie, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Brad Shields, 6 Ardie Savea, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Mark Abbott, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Dane Coles ( c), 1 Reggie Goodes
Replacements: 16 Brayden Mitchell, 17 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 18 Chris Eves, 19 Callum Gibbins, 20 Adam Hill, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Matt Proctor, 23 Nehe Milner-Skudder.
Venue: nib Stadium, Perth
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Graham Cooper (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)