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Hurricanes come from behind to beat Blues

Lock Vaea Fifita scored two tries for the Hurricanes

The Hurricanes came from behind by 10 points to beat the Blues 37-27 in Wellington and move back into Super Rugby’s top eight.

The Hurricanes move up to 44 points in the New Zealand Super Rugby Conference which is just two points behind the Chiefs who are the overall leaders.

The result does not completely rule the Blues out of contention for the play offs but they need other results to go their way.

Two tries from lock Vaea Fifita in the second half kept the Hurricanes in touch with the Super Rugby top table as they produced a 20-point burst.

Canes captain and All Blacks hooker Dane Coles, returning to Super Rugby after the June internationals against Wales, described the Titanic battle as “like another Test match”.

The Blues set the early pace and by early in the second half they were up 27-17 before the Hurricanes bounced back with Fifita’s tries and a faultless kicking display by Beauden Barrett who finished with 17 points.

“We were guilty in that first half of just playing attack and no defence and in that second half we turned our defence around and got some intent,” Coles said.

The Hurricanes remain third in the New Zealand conference but move to within one point of the Canterbury Crusaders and two behind the Waikato Chiefs.

For the Blues, however, their season is all but over with captain James Parsons blaming a rash of penalties for allowing Barrett to spark the Hurricanes revival.

“A little ill-discipline probably cost us in the end and they got up on top of us and then obviously some moments of magic by Vaea Fifita put us on the back foot,” Parsons said.

The game opened up during a rollicking 13 minutes in the first half which produced five tries, three to the Blues and two to the Hurricanes.

After an early exchange of penalties by Barrett and Piers Frances, Japanese international Male Sa’u set the game alight when he broke through the Hurricanes defensive wall to put Kara Pryor in for the opening try.

Reggie Goodes levelled for the Hurricanes only for the Blues to immediately regain the lead with the first of Jerome Kaino’s two tries.

Coles replied for the ‘Canes only for Kaino to again break the deadlock when he burst from a ruck to gallop 40 metres to the line.

As both sides tightened their defences there was no scoring for the remaining 17 minutes of the half but after a Francis penalty extended the Blues lead to 27-17 early in the second spell the Hurricanes began to claw their way back into the contest.

Two Barrett penalties narrowed the gap to 24-23 before TJ Perenara put Fifita over for his first try to put the Hurricanes in front.

The big lock sealed the outcome with his second try running on to a long pass from Willis Halaholo with nine minutes remaining.

Next week the Blues have a home match in Auckland against the Brumbies at Eden Park.

The Hurricanes travel to Sydney to play the Waratahs who have won the last two contests between the teams.

Final Score Hurricanes 37 (17) Blues 27 (24)

Scorers

Hurricanes
Tries – R.Goodes, D.Coles, V.Fifita 2
Pen – B.Barrett 3
Con – B.Barrett 4
Drop –
Cards –

Blues
Tries – K. Pryor, J.Kaino 2
Pen – P.Francis 2
Con – P.Francis 3
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant Ref 1:Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant Ref 2: Kane McBride (New Zealand)
TMO : Aaron Paterson (New Zealand)

Teams

Hurricanes

15 James Marshall , 14 Cory Jane , 13 Matt Proctor , 12 Vince Aso , 11 Julian Savea , 10 Beauden Barrett , 9 TJ Perenara (vc) , 8 Victor Vito , 7 Ardie Savea , 6 Brad Shields , 5 Michael Fatialofa , 4 Vaea Fifita , 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen , 2 Dane Coles (c) , 1 Reggie Goodes

Replacements: Ricky Riccitelli, Chris Eves, Loni Uhila, Mark Abbott, Tony Lamborn, Jamison Gibson Park, Willis Halaholo, Jason Woodward.

Blues

Sam Prattley, James Parsons (c), Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Patrick Tuipulotu, Josh Bekhuis, Jerome Kaino, Kara Pryor, Steven Luatua; Bryn Hall, Ihaia West, Tevita Li, Piers Francis, Male S’au, Matt Duffie, Melani Nanai.

Replacements: Quentin MacDonald, Namatahi Waa, Sione Mafileo, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti or Hoani Matenga, Blake Gibson, Billy Guyton, Matt McGahan, Matt Vaega or Lolagi Visinia.