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Blues give Hurricanes title hopes a severe blow

Jeffery Toomaga-Allen gets shut down by the Blues defence

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Article Published: Saturday 31 May 2014|

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The Blues gave the Hurricanes hopes of reaching the play offs a severe blow when they beat the Wellington side 37-24 with a bonus point.

The Blues are realistically out of contention for the play offs but look to have delivered a severe blow to the Hurricanes play off hopes as they have just two matches left to secure a place in the play offs.

The Hurricanes have matches against the Crusaders and the Chiefs remaining - both former champions and both still looking to secure their own place in the play offs.

Ironically the Crusaders will arguably benefit the most from the result as it takes off some of the pressure that the Hurricanes had been applying.

The Crusaders also benefited from the Chiefs loss to the Waratahs earlier as that too relieved some pressure on the seven time champions.

With play off places being so tightly contested the Hurricanes will need bonus point wins from both of their remaining matches.

The result does however bring the Blues form into question as they have held on to their unbeaten status at home this season but they have not won away from home since the start of last year.

The question must also be asked as to why they have not been able to play as well as they did in this contest all year.  

The Blues scored two tries in the first six minutes of the second half to lift themselves to bonus-point win.

The Auckland-based Blues also scored two tries, one of them a penalty try, within three minutes in the first half on their way to a 15-7 lead at halftime and an upset win over their better-placed New Zealand conference rival.

The Blues played aggressively and largely controlled the match through the first half, with a sound scrum and lineout and a fast-paced game that left the Hurricanes reacting to rather than creating play.

Locks Patrick Tuipulotu and Tom Donnelly were outstanding ball carriers and captain Luke Braid provided a superb example at contested breakdowns.

"I guess it was just sticking to a plan that we came up with during the week and the boys did it really well," Braid said.

"I think it was just an attitude thing. We were slow to the breakdown last week so we were big on taking them on up front this week."

The Hurricanes scored the opening try, against the run of play, through flanker Failfili Levave, who also scored their final try a minute before fulltime.

The Blues gained a lead they didn't surrender for the remainder of the match with a penalty try in the 14th minute and with a try to fullback Lolagi Visinia three minutes later.

The penalty try was the third awarded in this weekend's round of matches after two were given to the Crusaders in their 30-7 win over the Western Force on Friday.

Television Match Official Glenn Newman ruled that Hurricanes fullback Matt Proctor had deliberately knocked down a pass between Ma'a Nonu and Bryn Hall during a Blues attack.

Referee Garratt Williamson responded both by awarding the penalty try and sending Proctor to the sin bin. The Blues immediately took advantage of their numerical advantage by creating a try when Visinia ran onto a kick behind the defense from Peter Ahki.

The Blues turned that tenuous halftime advantage into a decisive lead with tries to flanker Jerome Kaino and winger George Moala in the second and sixth minutes of the second half.

They then added a try by Tuipulotu in the 65th minute.

The Hurricanes scored second half tries through brothers Julian and Ardie Savea.

Final Score Blues 37 (15) Hurricanes 24 (7)

Scorers

Blues
Tries - Penalty Try, L.Visinia, J.Kaino, G.Moala, P. Tuipulotu
Pen - I.West 2
Con - I.West 4
Drop -
Cards -

Hurricanes
Tries - F.Levave 2, J.Savea, A.Savea
Pen -
Con - B.Barrett 2
Drop -
Cards -  M.Proctor (14th min yellow)

Match Officials
Referee:
Garratt Williamson
Assistant Ref 1: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Ref 2: Mike Lash
TMO: Glenn Newman

Teams

Blues

15. Lolagi Visinia,14. Frank Halai,13. Pita Ahki,12. Ma'a Nonu,11. George Moala,10. Ihaia West,9. Bryn Hall,8. Jerome Kaino,7. Luke Braid (C),6. Peter Saili,5. Tom Donnelly,4. Patrick Tuipulotu,3. Charlie Faumuina,2. Keven Mealamu,1. Tony Woodcock

Replacements :16. James Parsons,17. Ofa Tu'ungafasi,18. Angus Ta'avao,19. Hayden Triggs,20. Steven Luatua,21. Piri Weepu,22. Simon Hickey,23. Albert Nikoro

Hurricanes

1. Ben Franks/Reggie Goodes,,2. Dane Coles,3. Jeffery Toomaga-Allen,4. Jeremy Thrush,5. James Broadhurst,6. Faifili Levave,7. Jack Lam,8. Victor Vito,9. TJ Perenara,10. Beauden Barrett,11. Julian Savea,12. Alapati Leiua,13. Conrad Smith (c),14. Cory Jane,15. Matt Proctor

Replacements : 16. Ash Dixon/Motu Matu'u/Goodes/Mike Kainga,17. Chris Eves,18. Reggie Goodes/Brendon Edmonds,19. Brad Shields,20. Ardie Savea,21. Chris Smylie,22. Tim Bateman,23. James Marshall

 
 
 
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