HURRICANES 40 JAGUARES 22

The Hurricanes aren't quite as deadly as they were this time last year, but they are getting there. That thumping loss to the Brumbies on the opening night of Super Rugby is starting to feel a long time ago.

The Hurricanes are a different team now: they are starting to flow. Their basic skills showed a little rustiness from their week off but they sharpened as the game went on and they found much of their old counter attacking pomp.

The Jaguares are not an easy team to out away and yet the Hurricanes were stretching out with 20 minutes to go. That's because, by the second half, they were running better support lines and angles. They were coming harder up the middle for longer, forcing the Jaguares to defend closer to the tackled ball and not swarm the midfield as they had been.

And when the Hurricanes play with that sort of directness and intensity in the middle of the field, it allows them to use their wider men to really open things up. That's when they are at the best - especially when Julian Savea is heavily involved. Or at least a fit and explosive Savea.

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Dropped two weeks ago for not being fit enough, the time off was obviously well used by Savea. He was quiet for the first half hour but then sprang to life when he smartly cut back to set up a sweeping attacking move that would end 50 metres up the field with him charging through two tackles to touch down in the corner.

From the resulting kick off TJ Perenara broke free, kicked ahead and Savea outstripped the defence to slide over.

When he powered after Perenara's kick ahead - just 30 seconds after he'd scored his first try - Savea looked comfortable. His running form was solid, his pace good and presumably now, with a better aerobic base having been laid, his form will continue to improve.

He scored a third which he made look straightforward but that's the art of good wing play - finishing the bread and butter stuff and Savea drifted off his defender cleverly to make the space to score his hat-trick.

Equally impressive were Dane Coles and Michael Fatialofa. The former once again ran like a midfield back and was phenomenally useful when he found himself running in space. He really did look like a bulked up version of Conrad Smith at times and his skill set is quite ridiculous.

As for Fatialofa, he looks a genuine find for the Hurricanes: supreme at the lineout and always willing and available to carry into the thick of the traffic, he's ensuring the Hurricanes aren't missing James Broadhurst as much as as they could have been.

What will have especially pleased the Hurricanes was the patience and resilience they showed to get on top of the game. For the first half hour, it was almost impossible to break the Jaguares defence. The Argentinians got off the line well and were also supremely accurate and aggressive with their head on tackles. Not only did they rarely miss, they were were able to dominate the gainline and as a result, turn the tackled ball into a bit of a shambles.

The Hurricanes were slow to change things up - continuing to push the ball wide, but with no real precision or directness. They weren't slick enough - too many wobbly passes that left the receiver jumping or halting to gather.

By the second half that all changed and the Hurricanes looked a lot like their former selves.

Hurricanes 40 (B. Barrett, J. Savea (3), D. Coles, B. May tries; B. Barrett 5 cons)
Jaguares 22 (L. Senatore, M. Moroni, M. Landajo tries; N. Sanchez 2 cons, pen)
Halftime 21-12