WELLINGTON – Jordie Barrett stole the limelight from big brother Beauden as the Hurricanes crushed the defending Super Rugby champions Crusaders 29-19 in Wellington on Saturday.
The unbeaten Hurricanes' four tries to three victory was their sixth win in a row at home against the Crusaders and put them on top of the New Zealand conference.
They made a storming start and were up 21-0 after 21 minutes, while the Crusaders' cause was not helped by the loss of their captain Sam Whitelock and backline general Ryan Crotty with head knocks in the first seven minutes.
The match was billed as a celebration of Beauden Barrett's contribution to Hurricanes rugby as the All Blacks' fly-half played his 100th match for the Wellington franchise.
But it was Jordie, in his 19th game, who put the Hurricanes on a winning path, playing an instrumental role in two early tries and landing a crucial 50-metre penalty in the second half.
There was no sign, either, of travel fatigue with the Hurricanes in their first home game of the year after playing in South Africa and Argentina as they ran in three quick tries with Jordie Barrett instrumental in two of them.
Captain Brad Shields said they were determined not to use travel as an excuse if the game did not go their way.
"We knew we had to start really well and I'm really proud of he way we came out," Shields said.
"It was a pretty tough test out there and playing these New Zealand teams you've got to stay on for 80 minutes."
After an early five-pointer to Chris Eves, a Jordie Barrett break and then inside flick pass put TJ Perenara over and another gap opened up by Barrett saw Ben Lam race 65 metres to score.
When Manasa Mataele put the Crusaders on the board with a try, the Hurricanes replied immediately with Matt Proctor scoring their fourth try before the Crusaders cut the gap to 26-12 just before half-time when their forward power drove Jordan Taufua over.
Michael Alaalatoa snapped a 15-minute deadlock when defences tightened at the start of the second half by grounding the ball at the base of the uprights.
Mitch Hunt's conversion put the Crusaders seven points or one converted try away from drawing level.
But their hopes of a come-from-behind victory were dashed by Jordie Barrett's long-range penalty to seal the game for the Hurricanes.
"Ultimately we weren't accurate enough," said Matt Todd who took over the Crusaders' captaincy when Whitelock left the field.
"We had to be clinical and limit the free ball we gave them and, credit to them, they capitalised on our mistakes. They scored points and put us under pressure early."