Harsh lesson from Hurricanes for Sunwolves

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Lynn McConnell     25 Feb 2017     Getty Images

It was never going to be anything else when last season's No.1 side met the last-placed newcomers who, because of the vagaries of the draw, were also having to cope with their first game against a New Zealand side without the best preparation they might have wanted.

The Hurricanes were unrelenting achieving their highest score and most tries in a game, aided by an ordinary Sunwolves defensive effort that conceded seven tries in the first half and six when the substitutes were introduced in the second.

Flanker Ardie Savea could not have made a more emphatic start. His two tries in the first 11 minutes were both examples of his quality support play, and demonstrated the extreme pace the Hurricanes had set on their control panel for the game.

Wing Julian Savea was in rampant mood on the left flank, and Vince Aso on the right while feeding them into good space was centre Matt Proctor. Fullback Jordy Barrett provided some nice touches, none better than at first receiver when he put Ngani Laumape in for his try just before half-time.

Lock Mike Fatialofa was powerful in the tight exchanges with two tries his reward although a late yellow card for a no arms tackle was a rare black mark and resulted in the last two tries scored by the home side. Hooker Ricky Riccitelli impressed with his busy-ness capped by a clever try from a lineout throw returned to him to race along the sideline to score.

There was excitement for the impressive home crowd after the Hurricanes had got out to a 24-0 lead after 13 minutes. First five-eighths Hikaru Tamura
put a kick through and centre Timothy Lafaele made impressive ground but the move broke down when he didn't hear support outside him.

The Sunwolves won a penalty and attempted a lineout drive five metres out but the Hurricanes defence held and drove them back. Another onslaught to the right flank again tested the defence but wing Aso was on hand to secure the ball.

Inevitably, it seemed, the failure to score rebounded on the home side as the Hurricanes blasted onto attack and when Julian Savea received a long ball from Proctor he had room to move, and found Jordy Barrett in support. His infield pass resulted in the fifth try to captain and halfback TJ Perenara after 20 minutes.

Then, after another home assault which saw lock Liaki Moli held up over the line, some intense Sunwolves play went unrewarded as Barrett pulled off an intercept which set up a chance for first five-eighths Otere Black to kick wide for wing Julian Savea to take the ball 70m out, beat two tacklers and then head off a third on a triumphant run to the line.

Finally seven minutes before half-time, reward came when wing Kenki Fukuoka took a long ball from second five-eighths Derek Carpenter on the left flank. While tackled he slipped the ball inside and fullback Riaan Viljoen picked up the ball and scored.

Into the last 10 minutes replacement back Shokei Kin made use of good set-up play to cross for their second try and just before fulltime No.8 Willem Britz capped a strong run with the third try for the side.

Scorers: Sunwolves 17 (Riaan Viljoen, Shokei Kin, Willem Britz tries; Timothy Lafaele con) Hurricanes 83 (Ardie Savea 2, Vince Aso 2, Ricky Riccitelli, TJ Perenara, Julian Savea, Ngani Laumape, Blade Thomson, Michael Fatialofa 2, Brad Shields, Wes Goosen tries; Otere Black 9 con). HT: 5-45