Super rugby Aotearoa

Otere Black boots Blues to victory over Hurricanes

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The Blues beat the Hurricanes 30-20 in an entertaining Super Rugby Aotearoa encounter at a sold-out Eden Park, Auckland.

Otere Black booted the Hurricanes into submission, claiming 15 points as the Blues squeezed the visitors, who struggled with the penalty-count after the break.

The two teams shared six tries, but Jason Holland’s side’s ill-discipline cost them as Black’s boot kept the scoreboard ticking with three quick-fire penalties to take the wind out of the Hurricanes‘ sails.

Black, retaining the No 10 jersey despite Beauden Barrett joining the Blues, was flawless from the kicking tee.


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The 25-year-old knocked over six from six (three penalties and three conversions) as the Auckland side pulled away in the second half.

Played in front of 43,000-plus supporters, the biggest Super Rugby crowd since 2005 at this famous old ground, rugby made a welcome return to the City of Sails.

Super Rugby Aotearoa Video Highlights: Blues versus Hurricanes at Eden Park, Auckland

The locals, disappointed not to see super-signing Dan Carter in the matchday squad were, however, treated to a solid Beauden Barrett debut from fullback.

Barrett had a hand in TJ Faiane’s 19th-minute score, and Faiane also added an assist with a well-weighted grubber for Dalton Papalii’s second-half score.

Clarke grabbed the game’s first score, while Dane Coles, Ben Lam and Booth dotted down for the visitors.

Blues overcome early struggles as Hurricanes wilt.

The Blues struggled with the new breakdown laws, conceding 10 penalties to four in the first half; however, they managed to take a slender one-point lead into the shed.

The lead changed hands four times between the ninth and 26th-minute as both teams shared four scores and a Garden-Bachop penalty.

Garden-Bachop’s wayward boot meant the visitors trailed 14-13 at halftime.

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However, the Canes’ lost their way, shipping nine penalties and five handling errors after halftime.

The visitor’s set-piece crumbled, especially their lineout, and with no cover at first-five, Holland’s side ran out of ideas as well as steam.

Papalii’s 50th-minute try, and Black’s boot, broke the backs of the Wellington side.

The Hurricanes did not score from the 26th-minute until the 78th when Jamie Booth scored under the posts.

By then, the game was gone.

Four-try frenzy as both teams land punches and counter-punches

Garden-Bachop opened the scoring with a ninth-minute penalty, but the Blues hit back immediately through Clarke.

Clarke brushed of the tackles, darted in-field and dotted down under the posts following Rieko Ioane’s midfield break.

Vince Aso shot out of the line, freeing up Ioane, who carried to the 22 before sending Clarke away.

Two minutes later, Coles put on the afterburners down the sideline, beating the Blues cover defenders before finishing like a winger in the corner.

A sensational try by the hooker, who bounced Barrett then stepped over him to celebrate while the fullback’s former team-mates ruffled the fullback’s hair.

Aso combined with Wes Goosen; their smooth handling took out all the Blues defenders to set-up the score.

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Leon MacDonald’s side regained the lead moments later when Faiane grabbed the home team’s second score.

Faiane finished off a well-worked attack. Quick ball for the hosts was shifted to the left.

Black combined with Barrett, who joined the line before playing an inside pass to the supporting Mark Telea.

The winger went close before popping to Faiane, who stretched out to score.

It was tit-for-tat as the sides continued to trade blows.

Lam had a try chalked off on 25 minutes but did not wait long for another opportunity.

Denied a score a minute before, Lam got his try.

Ngani Laumape carried from midfield after a five-metre scrum, the ball then recycled to Chase Tiatia, combining with Garden-Bachop, who put the winger away with a long, floated pass.

The stand-off missed his second conversion attempt, and the Canes trailed at the interval.

Black’s boot the difference as Blues pull away in the second stanza

The Hurricanes wilted after the interval; they just seemed to run out of gas.

Penalties mounted at an alarming rate as they struggled to stay in line with the new breakdown laws.

Their handling let them down, and their lineout fell apart, while the turnovers killed any momentum when they did get into good field position.

Black’s three penalties in 10 minutes took the game away from the Canes, who needed to score three times in the final 14 minutes to claim an unlikely win.

Booth scored at the death, but this game was over long before he burrowed over.

Final Score: Blues 30 (14) Hurricanes 20 (13)

Scorers

Blues
Tries – Clarke, Faiane, Papalii
Pen – Black (3)
Con – Black (3)
Drop –
Cards –

Hurricanes
Tries – Coles, Lam, Booth
Pen – Garden-Bachop
Con – Perenara
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 1: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant Ref 2: James Doleman
TMO: Brendon Pickerill

Teams

Blues

15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Mark Telea, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 TJ Faiane, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Otere Black, 9 Sam Nock, 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Tom Robinson, 5 Josh Goodhue, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu (captain), 3 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 2 James Parsons, 1 Alex Hodgman

Replacements: 16 Kurt Eklund, 17 Ezekiel Lindenmuth, 18 Marcel Renata, 19 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 20 Dalton Papalii, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Harry Plummer, 23 Matt Duffie

Hurricanes

15 Chase Tiatia, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 9 TJ Perenara (co-captain), 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Dane Coles (co-captain), 1 Fraser Armstrong

Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Tevita Mafileo, 18 Alex Fidow, 19 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 20 Devan Flanders, 21 Ardie Savea, 22 Jamie Booth, 23 Billy Proctor

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