Hurricanes remain on song
The Hurricanes stayed perfect in Super Rugby this season with a 36-12 bonus-point victory against the Rebels in Wellington on Friday.
A brace of tries from Nehe Milner-Skudder and further scores from TJ Perenara, Cory Jane and Callum Gibbins ensured the New Zealand franchise picked up their sixth straight win to strengthen their lead at the top of the Super Rugby standings.
The Rebels, who have now lost four of their six games, could not earn victory on Scott Higginbotham's 100th Super Rugby appearance and had only four penalties from Mike Harris to show for their efforts.
Harris kicked the Rebels into an eighth-minute 3-0 lead after blindside flanker Brad Shields was penalised at the breakdown.
The Hurricanes hit back four minutes later when Perenara finished off a swift attack down the wing to cross the whitewash and full-back Woodward, assuming the kicking duties from the rested Beauden Barrett, made no mistake with the conversion despite the tight angle to give the Hurricanes a 7-3 lead.
The Rebels beat the Crusaders a few weeks ago on their first trip to New Zealand of the season and retook the lead when Harris landed a couple of penalties shortly after the half-hour mark to make it 9-7 to the Australian side.
The Hurricanes got their noses in front with 20 seconds of the first half remaining when Woodward fired over his first penalty of the match, but ill discipline at the breakdown allowed the Rebels to go into the interval 12-10 ahead with Harris slotting his fourth penalty with the final kick of the half.
The second half was just six minutes old when Jane grabbed the Hurricanes' second try of the match and his second of the season after quick passing afforded the All Blacks winger room on the right-hand side to dot down.
Harris, like he had with Perenara's opener, added the conversion from the touchline to extend the Hurricanes' lead to 17-12.
Gibbins scored his first ever Super Rugby try when a speculative James Marshall punt up field was not cleared and the openside flanker collected the loose ball and raced unopposed to touch down under the posts and Woodward converted for a 24-12 lead.
Perenara was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on with 10 minutes left, but the bonus point was duly secured two minutes from time when Milner-Skudder touched down, and there was still time for the replacement full-back to grab his second and his side's fifth try before the final whistle.
Woodward converted the second of Milner-Skudder's tries to complete an impressive kicking display from him and a comprehensive victory for his side.