Rugby: Rampant Canes have deadliest attack

By Campbell Burnes

Vince Aso is the unlikely leading Super Rugby tryscorer in 2017. Photo / File
Vince Aso is the unlikely leading Super Rugby tryscorer in 2017. Photo / File

All the evidence suggests the Hurricanes are the most dangerous attacking side in Super Rugby.

There is respite, however, this weekend for the opposition. That's because they have the bye.

Yes, it is true that the Hurricanes gorged themselves on tries and points in their opening two clashes against the Sunwolves and Rebels, but they have proven in the last fortnight, especially in the second halves of the defeat to the Chiefs and the 41-15 win over the Highlanders, that they can strike from anywhere.

The Hurricanes have scored 33 tries in four games, more than eight each outing. The Lions are next best with 22. But there is starch to the Hurricanes too, having conceded just seven tries. The Chiefs lead the way with just six tries against their name.

Vince Aso is the unlikely leading Super Rugby tryscorer in 2017, his three braces giving him six, but then follows Ngani Laumape, whose five tries in four games compares favourably to his 2016 output of four in 11. Laumape is probably the form New Zealand No 12 over the first month.

The brothers Savea have four each, Julian now with a career total of 41 in just six seasons, is the highest of all active players. Mind you, TJ Perenara has 39 Hurricanes tries to his name in even less time.

We know the Hurricanes can punish opponents in several areas of the field, not just out wide. This is exemplified by Ardie Savea, who made four offloads, the round-high, and 17 carries, from the unfamiliar No8 position.

Fullback Jordie Barrett showed all his class with three offloads and a miracle behind-the-back flick miss-pass, which found Laumape for a try against the Highlanders.

Aso and Laumape are metre-eaters, chalking up 349 each, second equal in the competition. Laumape has beaten 22 defenders, the competition high, while Julian Savea has beaten 17, and is looking ominously sharp for March. He and Laumape have made 12 breaks each in 2017, with Aso on 10. All this without regular input from injured outside backs, former All Blacks Nehe Milner-Skudder and Cory Jane, and with Beauden Barrett understandably easing into the season without yet going at full attacking throttle.

In short, if the weather is fine and they gain parity in possession, the Hurricanes are hard to peg. The Reds are the next in their firing line, on April 1 in Brisbane.

The bye has come at a good time for the Hurricanes as they review their injury toll.

Hookers Dane Coles and Ricky Riccitelli are both under injury clouds and may have struggled to play this weekend, but should be fit to face the Reds. Medium-term injured Cory Jane and Vaea Fifita are on track for the April 7 home clash with the Waratahs.

Those in the wider training group who have not seen much game time will front for the Hurricanes Development XV against the Crusaders Knights in Levin on Saturday.

- NZ Herald

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