Hurricanes head coach Chris Boyd admitted their clash with the Blues “could have gone either way” as they claimed a 28-24 win.
In a thrilling contest, the champions claimed four points that keeps the heat on the Crusaders at the New Zealand Conference summit.
After the game, Boyd was relieved to get the result as tries from Mark Abbott (2), Ngani Laumape and Beauden Barrett proved crucial.
“We knew it was going to be a hell of a contest and it could have gone either way,” the head coach told the All Blacks‘ official website.
It was clear who was the star of the victory for the Hurricanes as fly-half Beauden Barrett was outstanding, gaining 170 metres in attack.
“We talked about the fact we needed to win some big moments and he single handedly does that. He is regularly responsible for us for seven – 14 points for us each week so that’s a pretty good place to start,” added Boyd before also paying tribute to two-try scorer, lock Abbott.
“He’s taken a bit of responsibility in that front five to lead them to follow him and he’s done a particularly good job for us in the last little bit,” he said.
In contrast this was the Blues’ fifth loss of the Super Rugby season as games against their New Zealand rivals have not gone their way, with Boyd having sympathy for the Auckland franchise and their boss, Tana Umaga.
“I said to Tana when you have been coaching for long enough you go through those spells where you just can’t get over that hump that every time you put in a performance and it is close, it just doesn’t go your way,” he added.
“They’re too good a side to stay like that for too long and I’m not sure how many New Zealand sides they have got left to play this season [one, against the Chiefs] but I know they will win a number of games going forward from here.
“They’re a tough side to play, especially at home.”