Sport: Record breaking 'Bus' flattens Rebels hopes

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Led by a double from Julian ‘The Bus ’ Savea which saw him overtake Christian Cullen and TJ Perenara as the Hurricanes’ record tryscorer, the hosts held off a feisty Melbourne Rebels by 35-13 at Sky Stadium. Savea’s fourth try in a fortnight of Super Rugby Trans-Tasman moved him to 57 for his career, past Cullen and Perenara’s mark of 56 as the Hurricanes scored five tries and banked a second maximum point victory. It was the Canes’ eighth successive victory over the Rebels as they eye a chance to keep their title hopes alive when the Western Force hit Napier next Friday.

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Befitting a big Friday night out in Wellington, the Hurricanes sparked up, got the staggers, then rode the No 14 bus home.

Led by a double from Julian 'The Bus' Savea which saw him overtake Christian Cullen and TJ Perenara as the Hurricanes' record tryscorer, the hosts held off a feisty Melbourne Rebels by 35-13 at Sky Stadium.

Savea's fourth try in a fortnight of Super Rugby Trans-Tasman moved him to 57 for his career, past Cullen and Perenara's mark of 56 as the Hurricanes scored five tries and banked a second maximum point victory.

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Sky Television stats had Savea on two fewer tries but Hurricanes and Wellington Rugby official statistician Peter Marriott confirmed his tally of 57, also backed by the NZ Rugby Almanack's records.

In his 129th match, Savea kept the Hurricanes in front against a Rebels side who lost 50-3 to the Blues a week ago but gave their jittery hosts a fright before they kicked into gear late.

France-bound second five-eighth Ngani Laumape was a big presence again on his return while livewire hooker Asafo Aumua added the punch they needed off the bench.

It was the Canes' eighth successive victory over the Rebels as they eye a chance to keep their title hopes alive when the Western Force hit Napier next Friday.

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a group of people playing football on a field: Julian Savea of the Hurricanes at Sky Stadium. © Getty Julian Savea of the Hurricanes at Sky Stadium.

It took some Savea magic to spark up the Hurricanes who made all the play in the first quarter but, remarkably, couldn't open their account.


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Their early attack was laboured and well picked off by the Rebels' accurate defence, a far cry from their 10-try canter against the Waratahs in Sydney.

One monster lineout drive was ruled out by referee Graham Cooper when it broke up before the line, and then the hosts were playing against 14 men when Rebels prop Cabous Eloff was yellow carded for collapsing a trybound rolling maul.

Savea had just been bundled out in the right hand corner, then as the Rebels mounted a rare attack against a flat Hurricanes line, he picked off Carter Gordon's pass and sprinted 50m to score in the 20th minute.

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a group of young men playing a game of football: Jordie Barrett of the Hurricanes at Sky Stadium. © Getty Jordie Barrett of the Hurricanes at Sky Stadium.

Their second, four minutes later, brought the home crowd to their feet as Laumape featured twice in a stunning movement.

First he put Jordie Barrett through a half-gap then followed up, bursting clear to feed the ever-present Jonathan Taumateine who put Billy Proctor away.

Still 14-3 at the break was a skinny return for a dominant first half and the Hurricanes needed to emerge firing to put this contest to bed.

Instead they fumbled, with a poor knock-on by Du'Plessis Kirifi giving the Rebels a sniff and they built a robust attack. In a flash, quick hands sent flanker Michael Wells across in the corner and it was game on.

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When Wes Goosen, who was electric on attack, was dragged down by Wells a metre short after superb buildup from Kirifi and Laumape, the frustration continued. Then a jolting tackle from Devan Flanders shifted the momentum and Proctor pounced on the turnover to send Savea haring off for No 57.

The Rebels wouldn't go away as centre Campbell Magnay twirled across in a gaggle of tacklers and the Canes had just an eight-point buffer entering a nervy final quarter.

But a concerted attack from their big ball runners, and a pinpoint crosskick from Orbyn Leger gave Goosen a deserved try and some welcome breathing space.

AT A GLANCE

Hurricanes 35 (Julian Savea 2, Billy Proctor, Wes Goosen, Asafo Aumua tries; Jordie Barrett 4 con, Orbyn Leger con) Rebels 13 (Michael Wells, Campbell Magnay tries; Matt To'omua pen). HT: 14-3.

- This article was originally published on stuff.co.nz and is reproduced with permission

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