ReutersBUENOS AIRES (Reuters) — The Wellington Hurricanes scored five tries to none as they picked up their first points of the season with a 34-9 mauling of Argentina’s Jaguares at Velez Sarsfield on Saturday.
The five tries were enough to secure a bonus point as the 2016 champions left the host with a third straight loss — the team’s worst start in three seasons in the competition.
Hurricanes flyhalf Beauden Barrett, making his first start after coming off the bench in the 21-19 loss to the Bulls in South Africa last weekend, converted three tries, while replacement Jackson Garden-Bachop slotted a penalty.
Winger Ben Lam and centre Ngani Laumape scored first-half tries, but flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez kept the Argentine side within sight, his third penalty in the 47th minute edging them within three points after the visitors had led 12-6 at halftime.
Center Matt Proctor put a damper on any hopes the Jaguares had of turning the match their way with the third try after 53 minutes, however, in another show of pace and power by the visiting backs.
Julian Savea charged through several tackles on the right wing and passed inside to scrumhalf TJ Perenara, whose pass was knocked backward by his opposite number Gonzalo Bertranou only for the ball to bounce kindly for Proctor to carry over.
Hurricanes prop Ben May was in the sin bin for a foul tackle when Vince Aso scored the fourth try and fellow replacement Blade Thomson completed the romp with one minute left.
Sunwolves suffer beatdown
Meanwhile, winger Jack Maddocks scored three tries, including two in the second half, as the Melbourne Rebels ran in 20 unanswered points to beat the Sunwolves 37-17 in Tokyo.
The score was locked at 10-10 at halftime after Maddocks and Japan international No. 8 Amanaki Mafi had crossed for the visitors, while Sunwolves winger Will Tupou scored an intercept try.
The visitors, however, kicked away in the first 15 minutes of the second half at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, and ripped apart a woeful Sunwolves defense thanks to one try from Sefa Naivalu and two more for Maddocks.
The Sunwolves, who had the better of the final quarter, took advantage of fullback Dane Haylett-Petty’s yellow card to convert a stream of attacking penalties with a consolation try from Ed Quirk before the No. 8 conceded a penalty try for a deliberate knockdown in the final minute.
The Jaguares sustained the first two of their three losses in South Africa but there are mitigating circumstances in that they are still getting used to a new coach in Mario Ledesma and a tougher streamlined tournament.
They held their own in the scrum and had a good defensive line but failed to sustain attacks through a good number of phases and tackled poorly in open play.
The Hurricanes will want to iron out the mistakes and ill-discipline which a better Jaguares side might have been able to capitalise on, but they have served notice they are again a force to be reckoned with this year.
They return to New Zealand to face the Canterbury Crusaders next weekend while the Jaguares, who are part of the sole remaining South African conference, host Australia’s New South Wales Waratahs in another cross-conference match.Speech