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Hurricanes come from behind to blow Blues away

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The Hurricanes came from behind to beat the Blues 29-24 at Westpac Stadium in Wellington ending the Blues season for 2019 on a loss.

The Hurricanes were outscored three tries to one in the opening half and trailed 5-24 but came out for the second half with a lot more urgency which the Blues were unable to defend against.

The second half saw the Hurricanes outscore the Blues 24-0 as the Aucklanders were kept scoreless in the half.

The Hurricanes victory is their ninth in succession against Auckland’s Blues who last beat the Wellington side in May 2014 and have won in Wellington since May 2013.

The Hurricanes end the regular season with 12 wins (53 points) which is one more than the table leading Crusaders (58 points) who won 11 of their 16 matches but earned more bonus points so topped the standings with five more points.

Next week the Hurricanes will be at home again in Wellington as they will host a Super rugby quarter-final but they will have to wait until the final match of the round to confirm who they will be playing.

The Bulls play the Lions in the final round and the result of this match will decide the final placings and who will travel to Wellington to face the Hurricanes.

The Blues were the first to score when Tanielu Tele’a in the eleventh minute after the Blues worked the ball through 9 phases and the Hurricanes ran out of defenders which opened a hole. Otere Black was successful with the conversion and went on to kick three out of four conversion attempts successfully.

The next to score was Caleb Clarke in the 35th minute when the Blues used Sonny Bill Williams as a decoy runner on the 5m line which allowed Clarke to slip into a gap and put the ball down under the posts taking the score with the conversion to 17-0.

The Hurricanes hit back almost immediately though after Danny Toala slipped through a tackle and offloaded to tryscorer Peter Umaga-Jensen milliseconds before Nanai could tackle him.

Umaga-Jensen would go on to score a second try in the second half but as the conversion was missed on his first try his score turned out to be the only Hurricanes points in the opening half.

The Blues finished the first half strongly as they went through 17 phases wearing the Hurricanes defensive systems down which ultimately created a space for Melani Nanai to slip through and score the Blues third and final try of the match.

The Hurricanes replaced James Marshall at half time with Fletcher Smith and he made an almost immediate impact by collecting a kick from Jackson Garden-Bachop and went in for the try.

Garden-Bachop converted the try and finished with three conversions and a penalty.

Three minutes later Garden-Bachop used the same high kick for Fletcher Smith to chase and again he collected the ball but this time offloaded to Isaia Walker-Leawere who powered his way over the line.

Umaga-Jensen crossed for his second six minutes later but the only further points the Hurricanes could add was a penalty from Garden-Bachop five minutes from full time.

Final score Hurricanes 29 (5) Blues 24 (24)

Scorers

Hurricanes
Tries -P.Umaga-Jensen 2, F.Smith, I.Walker-Leawere
Pen – J.Garden-Bachop
Con -J.Garden-Bachop 3
Drop –
Cards –

Blues
Tries – T.Tele’a, C.Clarke,M.Nanai
Pen – O.Black
Con – O.Black 3
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Glen Jackson
Assistant Ref 1: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Ref 2: Mike Fraser
TMO: Glenn Newman

Teams

Hurricanes

15 James Marshall, 14 Ben Lam, 13 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 12 Danny Toala, 11 Salesi Rayasi, 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 9 Richard Judd, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 4 Kane Le’aupepe, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Dane Coles (c), 1 Fraser Armstrong

Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Xavier Numia, 18 Alex Fidow, 19 Liam Mitchell, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Fletcher Smith, 23 Jonah Lowe

Blues

1 Ezekiel Lindenmuth 2 James Parsons, 3 Marcel Renata, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 5 Scott Scrafton, 6 Dalton Papalii, 7 Blake Gibson (c), 8 Akira Ioane; 9 Augustine Pulu, 10 Otere Black, 11, Rieko Ioane, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 13 Tanielu Tele’a, 14 Caleb Clarke, 15 Melani Nanai.

Replacements: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Lua Li, 18. Hisa Sasagi, 19 Tom Robinson, 20 Josh Goodhue, 21 Jonathan Ruru, 22 Harry Plummer, 23 Ma’a Nonu.

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