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Hurricanes breeze past Blues

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The Hurricanes breezed past the Blues 15-36 at Eden Park, Auckland, scoring five tries in the bonus-point win.

The Wellington side continues their grip over the Auckland franchise at New Zeland’s most famous ground, taking their winning record to six in a row and four victories at Eden Park.

Tana Umaga’s chargers have now gone 16 matches winless against fellow Kiwi sides, losing 15 and drawing one.

The Blues have beaten the top South African and Australian team’s away from home, but cannot beat other New Zealand sides.

Argentina’s Jaguares beat them with a brutal forward display, especially in the scrum and driving maul.

Hurricanes forwards’ coach Richard Watt and scrum coach Dan Cron would have watched what the South Americans did in their victory over the Blues.

The Canes employed similar tactics, going to their driving maul at every opportunity.

Their scrum and lineout dominated and they were excellent at the breakdown and won six mauls to one.

A fast start by visitors.

Jeff Toomaga-Allen won a scrum-penalty after the Blues knocked on in their 22.

Beauden Barrett kicked to the corner and the Hurricanes set up a driving maul.

Sam Lousi gathered Ricky Riccitelli’s throw finished the hooker finished the move when he flopped over the try-line: easy as you like.

The Blues tried a similar tactic when they kicked two penalties to the corner, however, they could not execute their own driving maul.

Instead, the Hurricanes defended the maul with ease, forcing their hosts to eventually kick at goal.

Stephen Perofeta put his side on the board with the penalty in the 16th-minute.

The Blues steadied the ship with some excellent defending and good attacking play.

Sonny Bill Williams broke the line with a step off his left foot before sucking in two defenders.

His midfield partner Orbyn Leger was hot on his heels, taking Sonny Bill’s wonderful one-handed offload before crashing over.

Perofeta missed a simple conversion – to the dismay of the fans – but the Blues had a lead.

The visitors came straight back, their handling was not as efficient or precise as usual, but their minds still operate at a speed quicker than their opponents.

Gareth Evans took a quick-tap penalty and barged his way over the whitewash.

His low drive could not be stopped by Patrick Tuipulotu and Ofa Tuungafasi.

The blues turned their backs allowing the No 8 an easy charge towards the line which is poor from Umaga’s men.

Ill-discipline.

The home team conceded nine penalties to three in the first-half and they got away with one after illegally sacking a maul.

Jaco Peyper’s usual pedantic refereeing style resulted in the Hurricanes being penalised with the try-line at their mercy when the South African pinged Brad Shields for breaking off the scrum early.

It would not save the Blues, although they did retake the lead early after the interval.

They led 15-14 after 51 minutes when Tuungafasi crossed for his team’s second try of the night.

Perofeta, this time, made no mistake with the conversion.

Sonny Bill and James Parsons went close during the 11-phase attack before the yellow wall cracked.

It was the last points they would score because their attack was kept at bay throughout the rest of the half.

Visitors increase the tempo and find their finishing touch.

The Hurricanes ramped up the intensity and, more crucially, finished off their chances, something the home team could not.

They ran away with the game with three more tries by Nehe Milner-Skudder, Evans and Matt Proctor.

TJ Perenara’s cut-out pass made a four-on-five, a two-on-one in the Hurricanes’ favour.

The scrumhalf’s skip-pass to the openside flanker created the opportunity which Milner-Skudder took when he crashed over the goal-line after Ardie Savea’s mini-break on the blindside.

Rieko Ioane could not push the fullback into touch and he dotted down to give his team a lead they would not relinquish.

Sam Lousi crossed 12 minutes’ later after another multiphase attack and Evens was tackled short inside the Blues 22.

The No 8 was outstanding, setting up Louis’s score after stealing a lineout on the Blues five-metre line.

The Canes had contested the lineout superbly resulting in the Blues losing three of their eight throws.

The game was slipping from the Blues, who kept giving away penalties as mistakes crept into the final quarter.

Beauden Barrett put the result to bed with a 71st-minute penalty which pushed the lead to three scores.

It was another five-pointer that the Hurricanes were chasing for the crucial bonus-point.

It duly came when Proctor crossed in the final minute of the match which sent his side top of Super Rugby’s New Zealand Conference.

Ngani Laumape took the ball at first-receiver and put in a cross-kick which was gathered by Jordie Barrett.

The fullback caught the ball, cut inside and offloaded on his inside to Proctor for the coup de grâce.

Blues versus Hurricanes video highlights.

Final score: Blues 15 (8) Hurricanes 36 (14)

Scorers

Blues
Tries – Leger, Tuungafasi
Pen – Perofeta
Con – Perofeta
Drop –
Cards –

Hurricanes
Tries – Riccitelli, Evans, Milner-Skudder, Lousi, Proctor
Pen – B. Barrett
Con – B. Barrett (4)
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant Ref 1: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Ref 2: Paul Williams
TMO: Ben Skeen

Teams

Blues

15 Matt Duffie, 14 Rieko Ioane, 13 Orbyn Leger, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Stephen Perofeta, 9 Augustine Pulu (captain), 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Murphy Taramai, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Ofa Tuungafasi, 2 James Parsons, 1 Ross Wright.

Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Ben Nee-Nee, 20 Lyndon Dunshea, 21 Jonathan Ruru, 22 Dan Kirkpatrick, 23 Melani Nanai.

Hurricanes

15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Finlay Christie, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields (captain), 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith.

Replacements: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Ben May, 19 Michael Fatialofa, 20 Blade Thomson, 21 Thomas Perenara, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Jordie Barrett

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