Rebels humbled by Hurricanes
Savea scores hat-trick as hosts run riot in Wellington
Last Updated: 26/05/12 10:41am
Winger Julian Savea scored a hat-trick of tries as the Hurricanes romped to a 66-24 Super Rugby win over the Melbourne Rebels at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Saturday.
Savea took centre stage as the hosts ran in nine tries, with fly-half Beauden Barrett converting all of them as well as a penalty for a personal haul of 21 points.
Andre Taylor and Alapati Leiua claimed braces for the rampant hosts, while Cooper Vuna scored two tries for the Rebels who also added a five-pointer after the full-time siren via veteran hooker Adam Freier.
The bonus-point victory kept alive the Hurricanes slim hopes of making the play-offs as they moved to 40 points and into seventh place on the overall standings.
The Rebels won last year's clash in Melbourne 42-25 and another high-scoring match looked on the cards after Vuna sliced through some weak Hurricanes defence for the game's first try after barely seven minutes.
After exchanging penalties the Hurricanes levelled at 10-10 with a superb try in the 20th minute - Perenara flicked a backhand pass to centre Tim Bateman who, as he was being tackled over the sideline, got a ball away to full-back Taylor who dived across the line.
The Hurricanes turned on the style from that point; Leiua crossed for the hosts' second touchdown after showing great handling skills to haul in Bateman's kick behind the flat Rebels defence, before Savea crossed twice in a matter of minutes for the bonus point.
Vuna then bagged his brace after the restart, but Jack Lam scored from turnover ball as the Hurricanes established a 38-17 lead at the interval.
The Hurricanes picked up where they had left off with Leiua's second try coming after Victor Vito had set the Rebels back with a 40-metre run.
Savea benefited from a long Perenara pass for his third try before Taylor, the competition's leading try-scorer, crossed for his second to give him 10 for the season.
A try to replacement scrum-half Chris Eaton had the Hurricanes up 66-17 before Freier picked up a consolation third try for the Rebels on full-time.