Sportal.co.nz 06.Apr.2013Getty Images
Despite a few defensive lapses, the Hurricanes – led by the evergreen Conrad Smith – were back to their scintillating best on attack at Westpac Stadium.
Julian Savea's two tries were classic tries, while Reg Goodes and Motu Matu'u both scored on the wing to join Ben Franks as prop-cum-wingers for the Hurricanes this season.
While Julian was simply divine on attack, it was his brother Ardie whose heavy workload in the forwards eased the pain of a side missing usual flanker Victor Vito.
Much of the pre-match hype was about how NRL and AFL-convert Israel Folau would fare in the capital, but Wellingtonians needn't have worried as they picked up a bonus-point victory.
Beauden Barrett secured 21 points, the joint-highest points tally for anyone in the 2013 Investec Super Rugby season, thanks to three conversions and five penalties. Brendan McKibbin by contrast had one conversion and four penalties for 14 points.
Both sides observed a moment's silence in honour of Hannah Eaton, the wife of former Hurricanes halfback Chris Eaton who was killed in a car accident over Easter weekend.
After an early touch, Folau was quiet for the rest of the evening as the Hurricanes forwards feasted on some isolated Waratahs attacks.
It was a fantastic debut for Ardie Savea, whose exceptional night included a number of steals and turnovers as the hosts secured their fourth victory of the season and second overall in the New Zealand conference.
Meanwhile, the Waratahs were consigned to their fourth defeat to stay third in the Australian conference and ninth overall.
A brief shower before the match ensured players had to be careful with handling conditions as a slippery ball failed to dampen a high-quality showcase of entertaining rugby union.
After early penalties were traded it was the hosts who scored the first try of the match. Some fantastic work from the forwards allowed Savea to sprint some 30 metres and score for the hosts.
Bernard Foley scored to equalise for the visitors at 13-13 apiece as both sides favoured an open, free-flowing style at a frenetic pace.
They were the only tries of the first half, with further penalties to Barrett and McKibbin extending the scoreline to 19-16 in favour of the hosts at half-time.
There was plenty of action in the second half as the Hurricanes scored three tries to push clear of their opponents.
Late tries to Adam Ashley-Cooper and Israel Folau gave the visitors a chance to secure two bonus points, but it was all in vain as the Hurricanes rolled to a 12-point win.
Hurricanes 41 (Julian Savea 2, Reg Goodes, Motu Matu'u tries; Beauden Barrett 2 con, 5 pen) Waratahs 29 (Bernard Foley, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Israel Folau tries; Brendan McKibbin con, 4 pen) HT 19-16