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Blues dent Hurricanes' play-off hopes

31st May 2014 10:23

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Jerome Kaino Blues v Hurricanes 2014

Powerful: Jerome Kaino scored for the Blues

The Blues maintained their unbeaten record at Eden Park this season with a 37-24 victory over the Hurricanes on Saturday.

The Blues bounced back from last week's loss to the Sharks with an outstanding performance, especially from their pack, to outscored their Kiwi rivals five tries to four.

The Blues won most of the individual battles across the park with young fly-half Ihaia West giving a good account of himself while Charlie Faumuina, Patrick Tuipulotu and Jerome Kaino were all outstanding.

The result leaves the Hurricanes lying in third place in the ultra-competitive New Zealand conference and teetering on the edge of the play-offs zone ahead of the June international break.

There are just three regular-season rounds left to play and with the 'Canes having a bye on the last weekend, they now face a tough task to finish in the top six.

The Blues led 15-7 at the interval thanks largely to a controversial penalty try.

The Hurricanes had taken the early lead with a try from Faifili Levave, who had an armchair ride at the back of a driving maul, but the game swung in the Blues' favour when TMO Glenn Newman ruled that Matt Proctor had intentionally knocked down Ma'a Nonu's attempted pass inside to Bryn Hall. Referee Garratt Williamson awarded a penalty try, in what can only be described as a harsh call.

With Proctor in the bin, the Blues cashed in with a second try via full-back Lolagi Visinia, who latched onto Pita Ahki's grubber.

The Hurricanes were left with a mountain to climb in the second half after Jerome Kaino powered over from short range and George Moala exploited a huge overlap out wide to score within five minutes of the restart to put the hosts 20-point clear.

Julian Savea touched down just before the hour mark with the classic 'Canes try from long range to give the men from Wellington hope but Blues lock Patrick Tuipulotu's try left the visitors trailing 32-12 with fifteen minutes to play.

In typical fashion, the Hurricanes kept coming, scoring their third try via Ardie Savea.

More great running rugby saw Levave bag his second try and a bonus point for the 'Canes, but it was too little, too late to pull the game from the fire.

The scorers:

For the Blues:
Tries: Penalty try, Visinia, Kaino, Moala, Tuipulotu
Cons: West 3
Pens: West 2

For the Hurricanes:
Tries: Levave 2, J. Savea, A. Savea
Cons: Barrett 2
Yellow cards: Proctor

Blues: 15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Pita Ahki, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 George Moala, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Jerome Kaino, 7 Luke Braid (c), 6 Peter Saili, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock
Replacements: 16 James Parsons, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Hayden Triggs, 20 Steven Luatua, 21 Piri Weepu, 22 Simon Hickey, 23 Albert Nikoro

Hurricanes: 15 Matt Proctor, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith (c), 12 Alapati Leiua, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Reggie Goodes.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Brendon Edmonds, 19 Brad Shields, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Tim Bateman, 23 James Marshall.

Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Referee: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand)

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PosTeamPPts
1Crusaders1651
2Chiefs1644
3Highlanders1642
4Hurricanes1641
5Blues1637