The Hurricanes continued with their fine recent form when they claimed a deserved 41-6 victory over the Western Force in Palmerston North on Friday.
Although the scoreline suggests otherwise, the Hurricanes didn’t always have things going their way especially in the first half and they held a slender 10-3 lead at the interval.
The home side turned on the style after half-time, however, and eventually outscored the Force six tries to none.
Hurricanes skipper Dane Coles made a try-scoring return, after missing their previous matches through injury, and his five-pointer proved the difference between the sides at half-time.
Coles got his name on the scoresheet in the 26th minute after the hosts pulled off a well-worked lineout move deep inside the Force’s 22.
Ten minutes earlier, Peter Grant had opened the scoring from the kicking tee for the visitors and Beauden Barrett also added a three-pointer from the kicking tee for the Hurricanes on the stroke of half-time.
Grant narrowed the gap with a penalty in the 44th minute and the game was evenly poised until James Marshall crossed for the ‘Canes second 15 minutes later, after the ball went through several phases in the build-up.
Barrett missed from the kicking tee but the Hurricanes continued to dominate and soon had another try.
This time TJ Perenara rounded off the move after Willis Halaholo had set up the score with a superb line break which tore the first line of the Force’s defence to shreds.
Although they had secured their bonus point by then, the Hurricanes didn’t rest on their laurels and continued to attack from all areas of the field.
Three minutes after Perenara’s try the hom side won turnover ball and Ngani Laumape beat a couple of defenders before putting Cory Jane away, as he offloaded to Blade Thomson to go over under the posts.
The Force battled to keep up but the Hurricanes weren’t done yet, and in the 73rd minute Laumape burst through a couple of tackles before crashing over in the left-hand corner after being released by Barrett, who finished with four conversions out of six.
And shortly before full-time Ardie Savea rounded off a superb allround performance from the hosts when he crashed over from a lineout drive close to the Force’s try line.
Tries: Coles, Marshall, Perenara, Thomson, Laumape, A Savea
Cons: Barrett 4
Pens: Grant 2
Hurricanes: 15 James Marshall, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Mark Abbott, 4 Blade Thomson, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (c), 1 Chris Eves
Replacements: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Loni Uhila, 18 Ben May, 19 Michael Fatialofa, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Willis Halaholo, 23 Jason Woodward
Force: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Marcel Brache, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Solomoni (Junior Rasolea), 11 Semisi Masirewa, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Matt Hodgson, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Ross Haylett-Petty, 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pekahou Cowan
Replacements: 16 Chris Heiberg, 17 Heath Tessmann, 18 Jermaine Ainsley, 19 Sitiveni (Stevie) Mafi, 20 Brynard Stander, 21 Ryan Louwrens, 22 Ian Prior, 23 Albert Nikoro
Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant Referees: Ben O’Keeffe, Kane McBride
TMO: Shane McDermott