A storming last quarter from the Blues saw them claim a 41-17 win over the Hurricanes in an exciting clash in Auckland on Saturday.
A storming last quarter from the Blues saw them claim a 41-17 win over the Hurricanes in an exciting Super Rugby clash in Auckland on Saturday.
The hosts ran in five tries to the Hurricanes' one to grab a thoroughly-deserved bonus-point victory at Eden Park.
To be fair on the 'Canes, the scoreline probably does not reflect the true nature of what was a closely contested encounter for 65 minutes.
It was anyone's game with the score at 20-17 going into the final quarter but the Blues ran in three tries in the last fifteen minutes, helped by Hurricanes skipper Andrew Hore being sent to the sin-bin for a professional foul.
The Blues led 20-14 at half time thanks to tries from Rene Ranger and Stephen Brett while the Hurricanes only try came via prop Neemia Tialata.
Hurricanes fly-half Daniel Kirkpatrick kicked four penalties to keep his side in contention but the visitors had no answer to the Blues late surge as Lachie Munro, Alby Mathewson and Jared Payne all crossed the whitewash.
All Blacks centre Ma'a Nonu made his return from suspension to win his 100thcap for the Hurricanes with a strong performance featuring a few typically powerful runs. But the star of the show was Blues full-back Isaia Toeava, who was a constant threat on attack.
The result sees the Blues move to second in the New Zealand conference, just one point behind the Crusaders, while the Hurricanes are now five points off the pace in fourth.
For the Blues:
Tries: Ranger, Brett, Munro, Mathewson, Payne
Cons: McAlister 2, Munro 3
Pens: McAlister 2
For the Hurricanes:
Pens: Kirkpatrick 4
Yellow cards: Hore (Hurricanes – 65th min – professional foul)
Blues: 15 Isaia Toeava, 14 Rene Ranger, 13 Jared Payne, 12 Luke McAlister, 11 Benson Stanley, 10 Stephen Brett, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Kurtis Haiu, 4 Anthony Boric, 3 John Afoa, 2 Keve Mealamu (c), 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements:16 Tom McCartney, 17 Tevita Mailau, 18 Filo Paulo , 19 Matt Luamanu, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 Lachie Munro, 22 Sherwin Stowers.
Hurricanes: 15 Cory Jane, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Andre Taylor, 10 Daniel Kirkpatrick, 9 Chris Eaton, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Neemia Tialata, 2 Andrew Hore (c), 1 John Schwalger.
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Anthony Perenise, 18 James Broadhurst, 19 Mark Reddish, 20 Tyson Keats, 21 Aaron Cruden, 22 Jayden Hayward.
Venue: Eden Park
Referee: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)