Roigard injury mars big Hurricanes win over Highlanders

The Hurricanes have pulled a 47-12 demolition job on the Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium, running in seven, but lost halfback Cam Roigard to what looked like a serious ankle injury.

The win was built on a massive effort by the impressive loose forwards trio of Brad Shields, Peter Lakai and Brayden Iose in the first half, as well as a costly early yellow card to Highlanders fullback Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens.

After Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens was binned for cynical play, Xavier Numia opening the scoring when he crashed over after only five minutes, Lakai followed him over the line after some great lead up work by Shields.

Brett Cameron added the extras and by the 15-minute mark it was already starting to look like an uphill battle for the home side.

Asafo Aumua was driven over from a lineout, after which Cam Roigard bustled his way over to make it 26-0 before halftime. The Highlanders had a gilt-edged opportunity to strike before the half, but Ruben Love picked off a pass that was destined for Jona Nareki.

The Hurricanes picked up where they left off after the break, with Josh Moorby cruising over to make it 33-0. Folau Fakatava started a mini revival when he managed to peg a try back for the Highlanders shortly after, but an ugly tangle on the Hurricanes’ side of halfway saw Roigard carted off the field with an ankle injury.

They didn’t lose much, with 80-test All Black TJ Perenara coming on to replace him, though. The veteran wasted little time making his mark, scoring a smart try off a dominant Canes scrum five metres out from the line to really put an exclamation point on the scoreline.

The Highlanders had 20 minutes to salvage something out of what was turning into an embarrassing night in front of their home fans. Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens pulled back a try with five minutes to go, but it did little to mask a performance in which they were clearly second best from the opening whistle – especially when Canes replacement Justin Sangster picked off an errant pass to score in the corner to rub it in.

The result sees the Hurricanes stay top of the Super Rugby Pacific table as they head into their bye week. The Highlanders also have next weekend off but will be doing an awful lot more tinkering as they look to avoid missing the playoffs for a second year in a row.

Hurricanes coach Clark Laidlaw will be sweating on Roigard’s injury, but he does have adequate bench cover with the impressive Jordi Viljoen. Love in particular was impressive as he continues to push a case for inclusion in Scott Robertson’s first All Black side, but the performance of Lakai brings a bit of an interesting twist to that conversation as well.

Go back over the play-by-play recap of the game: in RNZ’s blog.


Hurricanes 40 (Xavier Numia, Asafo Aumua, Cam Roigard, Joshua Moorby, TJ Perenara, Justin Sangster tries; Brett Cameron 4, Jordie Barrett con)

Highlanders 12 (Folau Fakatava, Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens tries; Sam Gilbert con)

HT: 26-0 Hurricanes

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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