Super Rugby Pacific: Hurricanes brush aside Rebels to continue undefeated start to season

The Hurricanes have continued their flawless start to the Super Rugby Pacific season, blowing the Rebels away 54-28 in Palmerston North to remain atop the competition standings.

The hosts did the majority of their damage in the first half, exploding with five tries in little more than half an hour to essentially kill off the contest.

The Australians refused to rollover but never genuinely threatened the hosts' advantage, nevertheless contributing plenty to an entertaining evening at Central Trust Energy Arena featurning a total of 12 tries - eight of which were in the Canes' favour.

Captain Brad Shields was superb in his first Hurricanes outing in six years. Salesi Rayasi was a menace on the wing, working in tandem withstand-out fullback Harry Godfrey. 

Salesi Rayasi in action.
Salesi Rayasi in action. Photo credit: Getty Images

After being held up over the line from a 5m lineout drive moments earlier, Rayasi was the beneficiary of a slick backline move, with Barrett and first-five Aidan Morgan combing to send the wing over next to the posts in the 14th minute.

They doubled their lead just a couple of minutes later. An innovative lineout set play resulted in TJ Perenara sending Barrett clear 30m clear to go in under the black dot.

The Rebels barely had time to catch their breath before the Canes were in again. Godfrey soared to reel in a bomb inside his own half, breaking free and linking with Rayasi to cap a 60m movement.

Shields bulldozed over from close range shortly afterwards, marking his return to style and sending the Hurricanes out to a commanding 26-0 lead after only 24 minutes. 

Rayasi turned provider to put Godfrey over out wide and stay ahead of their point-a-minute pace, before Angelo Smith barged over next to the lefthand upright to get the Rebels on the board moments out from halftime.

The Rebels carried that momentum into the second half, Kulas Ripley spinning out of a tackle for his team's second try.

But the hosts promptly restored order, putting together a clinical passage of play ending with Du'Plessis Kirifi barreling over the chalk, closely followed by a deserved try to Perenara.

The Rebels pulled one back through Carter Gordon, before Barrett laid on the finishing touches with his second of the match. The visitors had the final say through a consolation dot to Jordan Uelese.

The Hurricanes will visit Dunedin to face the Highlanders next Saturday, while the Rebels take on the Waratahs.

Hurricanes 54 (Rayasi, Barrett 2, Shields, Godfrey, Kirifi, Perenara tries; Morgan 7 con) Rebels 28 (Smith, Ripley, Gordon, Uelese tries; Gordon 4 con)