Hurricanes: 38 Rebels 13

Beauden Barrett's two-try performance against the Rebels in Melbourne tonight should serve to put Aaron Cruden on notice; the race for the All Blacks' No10 jersey isn't over yet.

Barrett scored two second-half tries at AAMI Stadium against a disappointing Rebels, who scored the first and final tries of the match but hardly fired an attacking shot in between.

The victory keeps the Hurricanes in touch with the Chiefs and Crusaders in the New Zealand conference and the six tries to two win showcased their counter-attacking abilities.

The Chiefs, on a bye this weekend, travel to Wellington to play the Hurricanes next weekend, and the match-up between Barrett and Cruden will be a mouth-watering one. Both men are in form as they vie for All Blacks' playmaker's job in the absence of Dan Carter and either player would do the jersey justice in the June internationals against Wales.

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The only thing that had the potential to trip the Hurricanes up was the disgraceful state of the pitch. Churned up by a scrum in the opening minutes, it resembled a sand pit in many areas and led to the Rebels' opening try when Julian Savea tripped on the turf and Dom Shipperley capitalised on a Tamati Ellison kick.

From there it was one-way traffic for the Hurricanes, however.

Victor Vito, Cory Jane, Barrett and Woodward went over the men in yellow, who struggled to press home their advantage in the second half.

But a try for Ardie Savea and then Barrett again put a gloss on a scoreline that they probably deserved.

A Cam Crawford try near fulltime was little consolation for a Rebels side which failed to cope with the defensive line speed shown by the visitors, or the destructive abilities from the likes of Ardie Savea and Brad Shields at the breakdown.

It was the Hurricanes' first time back in Australia after their horror show against the Brumbies in Canberra in round one, and while they have improved, it was hard to measure by how much due to the paucity of the opposition.

They did what they had to do but will face a far tougher test against the Chiefs, the rested competition leaders who will possess a few players, in particular Cruden, who will have a point or two to prove.

Hurricanes 38 (Victor Vito, Cory Jane, Beauden Barrett 2, Jason Woodward, Ardie Savea tries; Beauden Barrett 4 cons)
Rebels 13 (Dom Shipperley, Cam Crawford tries; Reece Hodge pen)
Halftime: 26-8