Coming off a valiant loss last week to the Sharks, the Rebels this week will host the Hurricanes at AAMI Park in a bid to get back into their winning ways. It was a close call last week for Melbourne, but a victory against 7th-placed Hurricanes will put them in good stead for the remainder of the season. What do we know about the Hurricanes?
The Hurricanes encountered a slow start to the season, winning one of just their first five matches -- a 60-27 smashing of the Cheetahs -- and losing to both the Sharks and, surprisingly, the Stormers in South Africa, and then going down to the Brumbies and the Highlanders in New Zealand.
A four game winning streak got themselves back into the top six on the ladder; a streak which saw them narrowly beat the Crusaders and Bulls, and comfortably beat the Blues and the Queensland Reds.
A loss last week to the Waratahs puts them back into seventh on the table, but the Hurricanes have shown they're one of the top-scoring teams in the competition, collating 20+ in eight of their ten games thus far, and 30+ in five matches.
The 'Canes have scored the most points in the competition this year with an overall count currently sitting at 297 points. 34 tries for the season puts them at the top of the overall try-scoring table, and Beaudan Barrett leads the way for the team with 5.
The Hurricanes lead all attacking statistics this season, topping clean breaks with 88 overall, metres with a 200+ gap on the Waratahs in second, and an 80+ gap on the Blues for defenders beaten.
Players to Watch
Without a doubt one of the most dangerous players in the world right now is young flyhalf Beauden Barrett. The 22 year-old has brought his name to the forefrunt of rugby union with big performances for the Hurricanes and the All Blacks in the past 18 months. His explosive speed, linebreaking ability, good passing and confidence in front of goals makes him one of the top flyhalves in Super Rugby, the top scorer for the season thus far with 147 points, and a front-runner for the no.10 jersey for the All Blacks later this year.
Alongside him will be Julian Savea. 104 carries (9th overall in the league), 13 clean breaks (3rd), 703 metres (6th) and 34 defenders beaten (3rd) for 4 tries makes him one of best wingers in the league.
But the backline won't rely on just Savea to do the work. Conrad Smith and Cory Jane are two of the most experienced All Black backliners, and with the toughest man to tackle of Super Rugby, Alapati Leiua, scrumhalf TJ Perenara and no.8 Victor Vitor feeding them the ball to the outside, they prove to be one tough team to beat.
HAVE YOUR SAY: The Hurricanes are the best attacking team in the competition, but the Rebels are force to be reckoned with at AAMI Park. Will the Hurricanes be able to keep it up when they come to Melbourne?
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