Sunday 29 January 2023 Dublin: 5°C
# Ruthless
Hurricanes pay respects to Collins as they claim top spot in Super Rugby
Chris Boyd’s side were superb in attack once again to secure a home semi-final.

THE HURRICANES SECURED top spot in the Super Rugby table with a resounding 56-20 victory over the Highlanders on what was an emotional night in Napier.

News of the death of former Hurricane Jerry Collins filtered in as Chris Boyd’s side prepared themselves for this meeting, the Canes doing the legendary All Blacks flanker proud by running in eight tries in total.

There was a a moment’s silence held immediately before kick-off to remember Collins and the massive contribution he made to New Zealand, Hurricanes and Wellington rugby.

NZTV / YouTube

Collins might have enjoyed the attacking flair on show in the contest between the Hurricanes and Highlanders thereafter, although his bone-crunching hits would have been hugely welcome in the free-running game.

Scrum-half TJ Perenara and centre Ma’a Nonu scored a brace of tries each, while Julian Savea, Blade Thompson, Dane Coles and James Marshall also dotted down. Beauden Barrett made his comeback from a knee injury, but Marshall retained the place-kicking duties to fire over seven of his nine attempts at goal.

Exclusive Six
Nations Analysis

Get Murray Kinsella’s exclusive analysis of Ireland’s Six Nations campaign this spring

Become a Member

This victory means the Canes top the regular-season Super Rugby table, booking themselves a home semi-final and a rest weekend after they face the Chiefs in Round 18 next Saturday.

The calls for Hurricanes fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder to be included in the next New Zealand squad will only increase after this game, with the 24-year-old once again sensational in what has been a spectacularly good rookie season. Openside flanker Ardie Savea, the younger brother of All Black wing Julian, was superb too.

Ma'a Nonu celebrates his try Photosport / John Cowpland/INPHO Nonu scored twice in memory of his former teammate. Photosport / John Cowpland/INPHO / John Cowpland/INPHO

Former Ireland forwards coach John Plumtree is part of the coaching set-up at the Hurricanes under Boyd now, having left his position alongside Joe Schmidt after last year’s tour of Argentina. His reputation in the coaching world continues to grow.

The final finishing positions of the other play-off teams are undecided at this stage, with the Brumbies facing an important visit to the Force in today’s other Super Rugby clash [KO 12.00 Irish time].

Tomorrow sees the Rebels host the Bulls [KO 06.30], the Crusaders take on the Blues in Auckland [KO 08.35], the Reds welcome the Chiefs to Brisbane [KO 10.40] and the Waratahs visit the Cheetahs [KO 14.00].

‘The flame of rugby flickers on’ – Tributes pour in for legend Jerry Collins

Former All Black Jerry Collins and wife Alana die in French motorway crash