Hurricanes blow away Rebels

The Hurricanes have claimed a 71-6 victory over the Melbourne Rebels in the second round of the 2017 Vodafone Super Rugby season at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Saturday.

Nehe Milner-Skudder scored a hat-trick in his return while Vince Aso and Ngani Laumape added doubles as the defending champions flexed their might to score 11 unanswered tries to remain undefeated.

In their first return home since they lifted the Super Rugby trophy, the Hurricanes class was on full display and showed why they’re tipped to defend the title with another dominant performance.

Rebels, in search of their maiden victory in Wellington, couldn’t have asked for a better start when Reece Hodge booted the visitors to an early 6-0 lead inside ten minutes.

A booming kick from halfway, reminiscent of his first Wallabies points at the same venue, opened the scoring in the second minute before the inside centre doubled the advantage seven minutes later.

The Hurricanes response was emphatic with five and six tries either side of half-time.

Milner-Skudder scored his first on the quarter-hour when he split the defence after an inside ball from Beauden Barrett put the fullback through a hole.

The hosts doubled their advantage five minutes later when a fortuitous bounce favoured Aso who collected and scored before inside centre Laumape finished off a set piece from a scrum five metres out.

Aso and TJ Peranara combined down the right touchline to put the winger into the corner before he turned provider with an offload to Matt Proctor on half-time to send the Hurricanes into the break with a 31-6 lead.

The Savea brothers added their names to the scoresheet when Ardie scored under the posts two minutes into the second-half and Julian brought up the Hurricane’s half-century in the 64th minute.

Rebels prop Fereti Sa’aga, who was a late inclusion after Laurie Weeks failed to overcome injury, became the ninth player to make his Super Rugby debut in two rounds when he was substituted on with ten minutes remaining.

Milner-Skudder completed his hat-trick with two tries in four minutes and Laumape completed the victory with a 60-metre intercept try on the stroke of full-time.

Hurricanes 71 (Milner-Skudder 3, Aso 2, Laumape 2, Proctor, A. Savea, J. Savea, Prinsep tries; B.Barrett 6, Black 2 cons) defeated Melbourne Rebels 6 (Hodge 2 pens)