Written by Max Sharp.
Having finished last in Super Rugby Aotearoa in 2021, this particular game looked like it would be ending as yet another poor performance against another Kiwi team for the Hurricanes. However, despite a 34% possession for the first half and an 18-point deficit in the 71st minute, the Hurricanes were able to run in three more tries, to perform in their second-to-largest ever comeback. So, which Hurricanes played well against the Blues and which ones didn't? Let's read the player ratings!
Hurricanes Player Ratings
Loosehead Prop - Pouri Rakete-Stones (7/10)
While Rakete-Stones' contribution to the game was purely the core roles of his position, this was the only real opportunity he had to be involved with the game and he did it very well. He was the best-performing prop of the weekend, with 11 tackles and 2 turnovers.
Hooker - Asafo Aumua (8/10)
His lineout throwing looked accurate, though his locks weren't able to capitalise on his improved throwing. Ran well, as to be expected, made 38 metres, while beating a defender and making a clean break. Good defence too with 8 tackles, Aumua looks sharp.
Tighthead Prop - Tyrel Lomax (4/10)
Lomax needs to lift his game. Whilst the Hurricanes' scrum success was 100% with Rakete-Stones and Lomax, both scrums they lost was from the 15 minutes of the Numia-Lomax front row pairing. Lomax only made 5 tackles and 4 metres from 61 minutes, his place in the All Blacks is at genuine threat.
Lock 4 - James Blackwell (5/10)
Made many tackles for the Hurricanes with 10, but his height of 190cm just isn't enough for him to be at lock. Blackwell works hard, he made 11 metres from 7 carries and 6 passes, but overall, an average game.
Lock 5 - Justin Sangster (7/10)
Is still developing at 23 years old, but did well for the opportunities he was given for his 72-minute game. Sangster's 9 metres were from only 3 carries, reflecting his side's lack of possession. Made a turnover and the team's second-most tackles. Sangster has promise!
Blindside Flanker - Reed Prinsep (3/10)
Should have been hooked at half time. Prinsep made the fewest tackles of the loose forwards, making 8, while he only made 9 metres from just 4 carries. Prinsep had no turnovers to show for it either, he will want to play much better next week.
Openside Flanker - Blake Gibson (4/10)
Gibson, like Prinsep is guilty of missing tackles that allowed the Blues to score. Gibson's rating was redeemed by his 11 tackles made, though he wasn't offered attacking opportunities. Hooked at 52 minutes, give him another go next week and he'll do better.
Number 8 - Ardie Savea (9/10)
The best player in World Rugby continues to impress! Savea not only scored the winning try, but managed 59 metres and 3 defenders beaten off 14 carries. Some gallant defence too, a team-high 18 tackles as well as his lone turnover. A lower than 100% tackle accuracy was the only reason he doesn't get a 10/10.
Halfback - Jamie Booth (7/10)
Not many great halfback performances this week, but Booth, in his second match back from injury was the best of the bunch for good reasons. Made more tackles than both Lomax and Prinsep with 9 tackles, while he managed 18 metres to go with his good game control.
First-Five - Jackson Garden-Bachop (5/10)
He was very much overshadowed by the other members of the Hurricanes' spine. Barrett would often shift into first receiver, while Garden-Bachop only made a single carry and a single tackle. A very quiet game for him overall.
Left Wing - Salesi Rayasi (10/10)
Rayasi, Player of the Week, scored the first hat-trick of tries at Super Rugby level, at the time of his second try he was one of few Hurricanes to hold his head high. 63 metres, 1 defender beaten and 2 clean breaks from his 5 carries, whilst he contributed 6 passes and 9 tackles; more than two of the starting forwards. Time for Samoa to cap Rayasi.
Second-Five - Julian Savea (9/10)
The former All Black was looking very comfortable in the 12 jersey. Outplaying his opposite, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, he ran 74 metres and beat 3 defenders with his 8 carries, winning a turnover and completing 10 tackles. Could he turn out for Samoa with the new laws?
Centre - Bailyn Sullivan (9/10)
A massive performance in his first start for the Hurricanes! Sullivan's two try assists for Wes Goosen and Ardie Savea were brilliant. Though he made only 7 passes and 2 offloads, he made those at the correct time. Made 37 metres, beat a defender and made 1 clean break off his 8 carries too.
Right Wing - Wes Goosen (8/10)
Goosen's game wasn't as quiet as I initially thought. Scored a very good try, while his 44 metres, 3 defenders beaten and 2 clean breaks were from just 8 carries. Valiantly defended, 9 tackles and a turnover. Make him a Springbok already!
Fullback - Jordie Barrett (7/10)
Was able to get himself on the stat board for everything, but didn't do enough of that because of being substituted early. Barrett's goal kicking was at 100% and his most impressive stat would be his team-high 4 defenders beaten from only 29 metres.
Reserve Hooker - Jacob Devery (no rating)
Is excellent to see Devery in Super Rugby after he wasn't initially contracted. However, Aumua had to come back on after Devery was injured while winning a turnover. Just 11 minutes played means there isn't enough to rate him on.
Reserve Loosehead Prop - Xavier Numia (3/10)
Professional athletes are allowed to have a bad game, it was Numia's turn for one of those. Didn't make any carries, his only stats registered were a pass and 4 tackles. Numia had 32 minutes to perform and was far too quiet outside the scrum, which he didn't do too well in.
Reserve Tighthead Prop - Ben May (6/10)
May has overtaken Brad Thorn as the competition's oldest-ever player after coming out of retirement and still looks in good shape. Though he made only a metre off his lone carry, 5 tackles wasn't bad for 19 minutes of play. His only pass was brilliant, it allowed Bailyn Sullivan to set up the winning try for Ardie Savea.
Reserve Utility Forward - Devan Flanders (6/10)
Though he normally plays as a loose forward, Devan Flanders came on at lock for Justin Sangster with 8 minutes left. Did a lot in that short time, making 15 metres, 4 carries, 2 passes and an offload. Start him at 6 next week.
Reserve Loose Forward - Brayden Iose (7/10)
The fans were all very impressed with Iose, the Manawatu captain. Iose ran 16 metres, beat a defender and made a clean break, delivering 6 passes and an offload, though he only made 3 tackles. Perhaps a move to the midfield could be considered?
Reserve Halfback - Richard Judd (no rating)
Judd was bought on for Booth with 18 minutes to go and pretty much remained in his core role, not much apart from that, won't rate him because of his limited involvement.
Reserve Utility Back - Ruben Love (6/10)
Much like Judd, Love only played for 18 minutes, but he did seem to perform better at 10 than Jackson Garden-Bachop. Made a metre from his only carry, just a single pass, but made 5 tackles, good for a 10 there. His 2/3 kicking assured victory, perhaps he is a 10 after all? He'll need a full season there to make proper claim to that for sure though.
Reserve Midfielder - Peter Umaga-Jensen (6/10)
It wasn't very clear if Umaga-Jensen was subbed on at 13, or 14 (Goosen moved to fullback when Barrett was taken off for Umaga-Jensen), but wherever he was he did well, running 28 metres and beating a defender. 2 passes and 2 tackles, not awful for just 22 minutes.