Hurricanes score big with small victories
REACTION: The Hurricanes may have thrashed the Melbourne Rebels at the weekend, but their celebrations focused more on small victories within the match rather than the lop-sided result.
Their colossal 71-6 win over the hapless Australian team, following an 83-17 hiding of the Sunwolves the previous week put the spotlight firmly on the quality of the defending champions.
They are one of only five unbeaten sides after the first two rounds, along with the Lions, Stormers, Chiefs and Crusaders.
While a favourable draw against two of the lesser lights means the Hurricanes have not been fully tested in the opening rounds, scrumhalf TJ Perenara said it was micro plays within a match that showed the true measure of the team.
"What we're trying to drive in our environment is trying to win small moments and getting excited about that stuff," he said.
"We know that at the end of the day we get judged on whether we come off the field with more points than the other team. But in our circle we want to win a ruck, we want to win a scrum, we want to win a line-out.
"So it's about having that mindset to want to win each moment in a game and continue to do that for the duration of the season and duration of the game."
The Hurricanes can expect their first stern opposition of the year next week when they play the Chiefs who downed a 14-man Blues 41-26 to continue six years of Super Rugby dominance over their neighbouring franchise.
The Chiefs scored six tries and always looked comfortable winners even though the Blues, who had Steven Luatua red-carded for a dangerous tackle on the stroke of half-time, bounced back with three late tries.
The Crusaders showed their tenacious credentials when they reeled in a 21-point deficit to beat the Highlanders 30-27 with the outcome sealed by a Seta Tamanivalu try two minutes from full-time.
It was the second try scored in the closing minutes when Highlanders were a player short after Malakai Fekitoa received a yellow card.
With Super Rugby's governing body meeting this week to consider whether to trim the competition, the Western Force silenced critics who said they were for the chopping block by beating the former champion Reds 26-19.
It was the only win for an Australian side in Round Two with the aratahs outpaced by the Lions 55-36 in Johannesburg while a late try to the Coastal Sharks saw them beat the Brumbies in Canberra.
It was an emotional match for double try-scoring Lions centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg whose mother died three days ago after a long illness and he fulfilled her wish that he take the field.
"It was the wish of my mother that I carry on playing and I dedicate my tries to her," said the Springbok centre who took his season try tally to four from two matches.
The Stormers battled to a 32-25 victory over a Jaguares side reduced to 13 men for part of the second half while the Cheetahs defended strongly to hold out the Bulls 34-28.
At the bottom of the table, the Southern Kings beat the Sunwolves 37-23.