Surprise, surprise. Another transtasman match, another blowout result.
On a cold and dewy night in Napier the Hurricanes banked their third bonus point win from as many matches in this lopsided competition, improving New Zealand's dominance to 11-0, with Salesi Rayasi producing a standout performance from the left wing in a record victory over the Western Force.
After two competitive outings in home defeats to the Chiefs and Highlanders, this was a reality check for the Force as the conceded seven-tries-to-none.
With the Crusaders and Blues in New Zealand to round out the competition it sure doesn't get any easier for the men from Perth, either.
Rayasi surprised many by recently turning down the chance to compete at the Olympic Games with the New Zealand sevens team. The Hurricanes, though, sure aren't complaining.
Rayasi has been carefully managed by the Hurricanes this year with Wes Goosen and Julian Savea, both in form, too, regularly rotated on the wings. Anyone who has watched the 24-year-old Rayasi this year will note his clear talent.
Tonight Rayasi frequently came off his wing looking for work to be highly involved from the outset. He provided another kicking option to Jordie Barrett, broke six tackles and claimed two superbly taken tries – the first with brilliant finish in the corner by jumping to avoid the sideline and place the ball down; the second a 90-metre runaway after casually controlling a wayward pass with his foot.
In short, this match was another example that last year's top provincial try scorer has a big future.
Hurricanes captain Ardie Savea made his comeback from a knee injury with 30 minutes off the bench, earning a breakdown penalty with his first play and making the final pass for Ngani Laumape's try following a pin-point Barrett chip.
Prop Tyrel Lomax was another prominent figure, setting up Du'Plessis Kirifi's try in which he nonchalantly strolled through Richard Kahui with a strong strip in contact.
The Hurricanes led 19-6 at halftime and despite some attacking fumbles left the 9296 Hawke's Bay locals entertained with a performance that keeps them well in the hunt to contest the transtasman final. They do, however, have face a testing run home with the Brumbies in Canberra and Reds in Wellington.
Even with the Hurricanes battling for execution at times their attacking skill was on a different planet to the Force.
Other than former Chiefs wing Toni Pulu's injection from the right wing the Force were predictable with one-off runners often stopped in their tracks which forced them to kick in hope more than from any form of plan. Only when the game was gone did they show any real ambition.
Even then the Force failed to convert repeat chances in the Hurricanes 22. Jeremy Thursh was denied the only time they crossed the line due to obstruction nine minutes from time.
The Hurricanes, meanwhile, made metres at will and stretched the Force every time they went to the edge.
The match didn't start well for the Hurricanes with Barrett kicking dead from a penalty and out on the full from a restart which helped the Force lead 6-0. That's as good as it got for the visitors, though. They couldn't muster another point.
Thriving in a starting role with Dane Coles rested, Asafo Aumua, following an overthrown lineout, set off through some terrible tackling to showcase his pace and race 65 metres to claim the opening try and put the Force immediately on the backfoot. As did several big defensive shots from Aumua, too.
Aumua left the field early with a head knock, but there was no respite for the Force.
Right to the finish the Hurricanes piled on the misery – Barrett's try two minutes into injury time registering their biggest winning margin over the Force to put an exclamation point on the gulf between the two nations.
Hurricanes 43 (Salesi Rayasi 2, Asafo Aumua, Du'Plessis Kirifi, Wes Goosen, Ngani Laumape, Jordie Barrett tries; Barrett 4 cons)
Force 6 (Domingo Miotti 2 pens)