Savea equals Folau's Super Rugby try record as Drua stun Hurricanes

rugby06 May 2023 05:55| © AFP

Julian Savea equalled the record for most tries in Super Rugby but it was not enough to stop Hurricanes crashing to a 27-24 upset loss to Fijian Drua in Suva on Saturday.

The powerful winger crossed for two tries to lift his career tally to 60, level with controversial former Waratahs back Israel Folau.

Savea – whose 46 test tries rank him second on the all-time All Blacks list – brought up the Super Rugby milestone in his 150th match for the Hurricanes.

It is a slower strike rate than Folau, whose 60 tries came from 96 games before the former Wallabies star's Rugby Australia contract was terminated in 2019 following derogatory comments about gay people.

Savea's efforts were not enough to prevent the Hurricanes slumping to a third Super Rugby Pacific defeat from 10 matches this season while the Drua picked up a fourth win.

The result reinforced what a difficult proposition the Drua are in their hot and humid home conditions.

Victory was achieved in similar circumstances to their one-point boilover against the defending champion Crusaders in round three in Lautoka.

In both games, replacement back Kemu Valetini was the match-winner with the boot.

Against the Crusaders, Valetini landed a last-gasp penalty goal.

It took two late penalties from the brother of Wallabies forward Rob Valetini to secure victory against the Hurricanes, first to draw level and the second to put the Drua in front with two minutes remaining.

Hurricanes captain Ardie Savea, the brother of Julian, had no excuses for the upset result against a Drua team prepared to attack from all parts of the ground.

"We always knew it was going to be tough, and we just weren't good enough," he said.

"The Drua capitalised and they played their game. It was hard to defend. They're very dangerous, very scary."

Drua captain Tevita Ikanivere said his seventh-placed side will look to capitalise on their home ground prowess as they push for a top-eight finish over the final four rounds of the regular season.

"It's good to get back in the winner's circle but we want to get into the quarterfinals so we have to win those next two (home games)," he said.