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<hash>Hurricanes</hash> thrash luckless Rebels

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Saturday, May 26, 2012    Sportal.co.nz    Getty Images

The Hurricanes outscored the visitors nine tries to three as Andre Taylor (two), Alapati Leiua (two), Jack Lam and Chris Eaton also got on the score sheet.

Beauden Barrett had an excellent night with his goal kicking, landed all nine conversions and a penalty as the Hurricanes recorded their highest score in Super Rugby.

Cooper Vuna bagged a double for the out-gunned Rebels and Adam Freier scored at the death but injuries to Kurtley Beale, Mark Gerrard and Lachlan Mitchell, who was taken off on the stretcher after a massive, legal tackle from substitute hooker Motu Matu'u, added further woe for coach Damien Hill.

It was another slow start by the Hurricanes who found themselves trailing after just eight minutes following Vuna's powerful run to the line.

But they responded the only way they know how and again TJ Perenara, Barrett and Tim Bateman were to the fore as first Taylor and then Leiua crossed to put the home side in front.

Perenara's break and outstanding pass behind the back found Bateman who flung the ball one-handed to Taylor to score.

Then Bateman's well-timed grubber kick got in behind the Rebels defence and Leiua finally gathered it to dive over.

The Rebels were under all sorts of pressure and twice they coughed up possession and twice Savea dotted down.

His first came in the 28th minute after Faifili Levave ripped the ball out of a Rebel's maul. Barrett squeezed through the half gap and fired the ball inside to the big left winger.

Two minutes later Perenara stole the ball and it was Conrad Smith's grubber that Savea gathered to score.

Barrett was having a good night with his goal kicking, landing all four conversions following an early penalty and the Hurricanes were 31-10 up.

Against the run of play Vuna scored an intercept try, which Beale converted, but it was a rare positive moment for the visitors.

Instead the continuous pressure the Hurricanes were applying resulted in a fifth try, this time Lam forcing his way over to give the home side a 38-17 lead at the break.

Three minutes after the restart and Leiua was over again and Barrett's sixth conversion extended that lead to 45-17.

A raft of substitutions by both sides halted the game's momentum for several minutes as the teams readjusted.

The sight of Beale leaving with what appeared to be an arm or shoulder injury would have been of big concern for Australian coach Robbie Deans with his stocks at first-five already depleted.

It was the Hurricanes who found their rhythm again most quickly and in the 53rd minute Savea wrapped up his hat-trick after substitute Jayden Hayward put Taylor into space and he found the left winger on his outside.

Three minutes later and Taylor completed his double as the Hurricanes continued to rip the Rebels defence to shreds.

Play was held up for several minutes as Mitchell was attended too but the Hurricanes focus never wavered.

Chris Eaton's score took Mark Hammett's men past their previous highest score of 64-32, which came against the Bulls (as Northern Transvaal) in 1997, before Freier grabbed a late consolation for the Rebels.

Scorers: Hurricanes 66 (Andre Taylor 2, Alapati Leiua 2, Julian Savea 3, Jack Lam, Chris Eaton tries: Beauden Barrett 9 con, pen) Rebels 24 (Cooper Vuna 2, Adam Freier tries; Kurtley Beale 2 con, pen; Richard Kingi con). HT: 38-17