Big names shine as Hurricanes humiliate Rebels

Dane Coles leads the Wellington Hurricanes to a 71-6 trouncng of the Melbourne Rebels, March 4, 2017

Defending Super Rugby champions the Wellington Hurricanes trounced the Melbourne Rebels 71-6 Saturday, with returning All Blacks Beauden Barrett and Nehe Milner-Skudder playing starring roles.

Milner-Skudder scored three of the Hurricanes' 11 unanswered tries, while Barrett set up three and kicked six conversions.

It was the Hurricanes second highest score ever, bettered only by the 83 they scored against the Sunwolves last week in Tokyo, when they notched 13 tries.

"When we were quite direct and kept things simple, we opened them up," said captain Dane Coles, who sat out the Sunwolves game, along with Barrett and Milner-Skudder.

"It's very pleasing, the attack's going good and we're going to enjoy the win."

It was the Rebels, who received a tongue-lashing from coach Tony McGahan after a 56-18 loss to the Auckland Blues last week, who made the early running.

They were rewarded with two penalties to Reece Hodge before Barrett and Milner-Skudder sparked the Hurricanes to life in the 17th minute.

Barrett drew in three tacklers then sent a short pass to Milner-Skudder, who showed no sign of rust after 12 months out with a shoulder injury, launching into a trademark sidestep before crossing the line.

Barrett's chip kick set up winger Vince Aso for the Hurricanes' second a few minutes later.

Ngani Laumape made it three on the back of a dominant Hurricanes scrum then Aso broke down the wing with TJ Perenara to add a fourth.

It was Aso's second brace in as many matches but the Hurricanes were not done, with Barrett setting up another try before half-time, this time for Matt Proctor.

Ardie Savea piled on more misery for the Rebels two minutes after the restart when his older brother Julian set him up for a five-pointer.

Hurricanes players were lining up to score by this stage, with Reed Prinsep and Julian Savea dotting down tries before Milner-Skudder completed his hat-trick.

He outpaced the defence to dive into the corner for his second and his third came after a surging run from Jordie Barrett.

Laumape then intercepted a loose pass and dashed two-thirds the length of the field for his second to complete a horror night for the Rebels.