Winger blows New Zealand away with ‘unplayable’ display against Gatland’s men

Winger blows New Zealand away with ‘unplayable’ display against Gatland’s men

A new star of New Zealand rugby may have emerged overnight after Jona Nareki orchestrated a storm for the Hurricanes in their victory over Warren Gatland’s Chiefs.

The 23-year-old wing turned out a man-of-the-match performance as the Canes downed the Chiefs 39-23 in their Super Rugby Aotearoa clash in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Nareki scored a hat-trick, single-handedly set up another, ran for almost 200 metres, beat nine defenders and made five clean breaks in a hot-stepping performance which has blown fans away.

Nareki’s first score was borne of a poor, chipped kick from Bryn Gatland, son of former Wales head coach Warren of course, and he blazed home a 93-metre run-in, gassing Jonah Lowe in a footrace in the process.

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The youngster’s assisting skills then came to the fore in what might be considered for try of the season, when he gathered another errant kick, broke the tackles of Tupou Vaa’i and Sam Cane before mowing down Brad Weber during a mightily impressive break.

He offloaded expertly to Shannon Frizzell and he did the rest.

Nareki’s second try came after he sold a wicked dummy to break through the Chiefs’ defensive line once again before out-stepping Reuben O’Neill and evading a Damian McKenzie cover tackle to touch down.

To cap off his hat-trick, he was afforded his easiest chance of the night, simply cantering home to put the icing on top of the cake after a perfect display.

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It’s safe to say his performance caught the eye of thousands of supporters and got tongues wagging on social media after the match.

One fan said on Twitter: “Three tries in seven second-half minutes from Highlanders did the damage, Jona Nareki simply unplayable, helping them to 23-39 win.

Another said: “Nareki completes a hat-trick as the Highlanders finish off the Chiefs. Jeez New Zealand boasts some excellent finishers.”

While a third added: “Jona Nareki! My aching soul! Breaking tackles like a human wrecking ball!”

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Hurricanes head coach Tony Brown, however, was not surprised. This was simply par for the course for an “outstanding winger” who clearly has a bright future ahead.

“He performs like that every week,” Brown said.

“He’s an outstanding winger. There’s not many small wingers in New Zealand that perform like him.

“An exceptional night obviously, but for me, he performs like that every week. He’s unreal.”

For Warren Gatland, that is now 10 losses in a row for his Chiefs side.

Although currently in the UK on his Lions remit, he will doubtless have been keeping up to speed as his side were torn apart by this mightily impressive young star.

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