The Hurricanes beat the Crusaders 29-28 in a Super Rugby thriller on Friday night. Wing Julian Savea had a large part to play in the home side’s performance as he physically dominated and scored a try that was reminiscent of Jonah Lomu vs Mike Catt in 1995.
Dan Carter had a chance to snatch the win for the Crusaders late in the game, but a drop goal attempt sailed wide, allowing the Hurricanes to get back on track after two successive losses.
Savea was sensational on the night as he bumped hapless tacklers out the way, smashed others, and showed a deftness of touch that has seldom been seen in such brutal runners.
Comparisons to the great Lomu were hard to avoid, but what Savea perhaps lacks in size (when compared with the All Black legend), he makes up for in other areas of his game, clearly having worked on his kicking, passing, and option taking.
He made a statement early on with a big charge through All Black Israel Dagg, then smashed Crusaders powerhouse Robbie Fruean, leaving him on the floor wincing in pain.
In the second half and with the Hurricanes trailing, Savea lit things up as he beat one man, then lined up last defender Dagg and literally bumped him out the way for the second time in the game.
It wasn’t quite at the same brutality level of Lomu vs Catt, but it was right up there and the impact he made on the night will live long in the memory as a defining moment in his young career.
Below is a clip showing the bumps, the try, and that big tackle on Fruean