Perenara hat-trick powers Hurricanes to victory over Force
FORCE 19 HURRICANES 46
The try that broke the Force ... TJ Perenara of the Hurricanes scoots away for his third five-pointer. Photo: Getty Images
On a night that was meant to be all about Western Force stalwart Nathan Sharpe, debutant Hurricanes halfback TJ Perenara stole the show in his team's 46-19 Super Rugby triumph in Perth.
Perenara, who turned 19 in January, scored three of his team's six tries to ensure Sharpe's 150-game milestone wouldn't be a memorable one for the Force.
The Force's third loss on the trot leaves them in a worrying place ahead of next Saturday's away clash with the NSW Waratahs.
And they were left with fresh injury concerns to deal with after wingers Nick Cummins (calf) and Napolioni Nalaga (leg) were subbed out of the game early.
With the temperature still hovering above 30C at the 7.05pm kick-off time, it was the Hurricanes who warmed to the conditions, with Perenara needing just five minutes to cross for the night's opening try.
Force flanker Matt Hodgson, with a helping heave from Sharpe, barged through two Hurricanes defenders to open the Force's account in the 19th minute to the delight of the 15,768 fans on hand.
But with the scores locked at 10-10 approaching halftime, the Hurricanes' backline dealt the Force a critical double blow.
A great offload from Cory Jane in the tackle gifted Perenara his second try in the 35th minute and when fullback Andre Taylor beat Cummins in a 40m sprint to the corner three minutes later, the visitors went to the break with a comfortable 22-10 lead.
Perenara's magical night continued in the 50th minute, with the 184cm speedster benefiting from a wicked bounce of the ball to notch his third try and secure the team's four-try bonus point.
Force substitute Alfie Mafi seemed to have the situation under control after the Hurricanes soccered the ball his way.
But Mafi was forced to watch on in disbelief as the ball bounced away at the last second, gifting Perenara the easiest of tries.
Stannard's boot got the margin back to 10 points with 20 minutes to go.
But it just wasn't the Force's night.
Fullback Cameron Shepherd was pushed into touch just before he grounded the ball for what would have been the Force's second try, before late tries to Hurricanes lock Jason Eaton and Charlie Ngatai secured the resounding win.
HURRICANES 46 (TJ Perenara 3, Jason Eaton, Charlie Ngatai, Andre Taylor tries Beauden Barrett 3, Daniel Kirkpatrick 2 cons Barrett, Kirkpatrick pens) bt WESTERN FORCE 19 (Matthew Hodgson try James Stannard con 4 pens) at nib Stadium. Referee: Jaco Peyper. Crowd: 15,768.