Wednesday 1 February 2023 Dublin: 6°C
# 10
Three of the All Blacks' potential World Cup out-halves faced off this morning
Beauden Barrett, Dan Carter and Colin Slade were all heavily involved in Wellington.

BEAUDEN BARRETT’S HURRICANES came away with a 29-23 victory against a Crusaders side that included Colin Slade and Dan Carter in this morning’s Super Rugby action.

Dan Carter dejected after the game Photosport / Grant Down/INPHO Dan Carter and the Crusaders tasted defeat in Wellington. Photosport / Grant Down/INPHO / Grant Down/INPHO

The Hurricanes strengthened their position at the top of the overall table with success in an absolutely enthralling clash in Wellington, although Barrett limped off late in the game after injuring his right knee.

The 23-year-old showed his pace early on to race in for a try from more than 80 metres out after his All Blacks rival, Colin Slade, had left a pass on the ground.

Barrett also came up with a number of linebreaks and halfbreaks in his latest strong performance, as well as starting the counter-attack that ended with Hurricanes flanker Blade Thompson scoring the winning try.

GIF 2 Barrett shows his pace to score.

33-year-old Carter, who has been playing at inside centre for the Crusaders in recent times, scored the opening try of the game after just a minute, that effort set up by a superb break from Slade, wearing the Crusaders’ 10 shirt.

Indeed, Slade demonstrated his attacking threat throughout in Wellington as the battle to be the All Blacks’ starting out-half continues apace. Another of his excellent attacking darts led to his own 31st-minute try, which Slade also converted himself.

Ultimately it was Barrett’s Canes who had more in the tank, as they produced a typically exciting try for Thompson with 20 minutes left that proved to be the winning score.

GIF (1) Slade sets up Carter's early try.

Barrett converted three of the Hurricanes’ four tries and also added a penalty, while Slade kicked three penalties and converted both of the Crusaders’ tries.

A cruel knee injury to Aaron Cruden means the All Blacks are already down one out-half option for the World Cup, but three of the other contenders have again underlined that it’s going to be quite a battle to convince head coach Steve Hansen.

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In this morning’s other Super Rugby fixture, the Rebels – led by former Munster head coach Tony McGahan – pulled off a 16-15 win against the Chiefs in Melbourne.

Tries from Australia back row Scotty Higginbotham and scrum-half Nic Stirzaker, as well as two conversions from ever-improving out-half Jack Debreczeni, were enough to beat the Chiefs.

Beauden Barrett scores a try Photosport / Grant Down/INPHO Barrett is likely to miss next weekend with his knee injury. Photosport / Grant Down/INPHO / Grant Down/INPHO

The New Zealand franchise managed tries through the in-form pair of centre Charlie Ngatai and number eight Michael Leitch, with Damian McKenzie adding a penalty and Andrew Horrell kicking one conversion, but yellow cards for wing James Lowe and captain Liam Messam made their task all the more difficult.

Former Ireland U20 hooker Tom Sexton was an unused replacement for the Australian side. The Rebels move up to 10th overall, with the Chiefs in fourth in the Super Rugby table.

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