Planet Rugby

Blues hang on for victory

06th May 2011 08:03

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aaron cruden alby mathewson hurricanes v blues

Tight tussle: The Hurricanes came close to bursting the Blues' bubble

The Hurricanes were a spilled try away from upsetting the Blues, who managed to hang on for a 17-11 Super Rugby win in Wellington on Friday.

With time up on the clock, the hosts looked to have stolen victory for the second time in two weeks after replacement halfback Tyson Keats went over after returning from a 10-minute spell on the sidelines.

It would have been poetic justice for Keats after seeing yellow for a tip tackle on opposite number Alby Mathewson, however the TMO quite correctly ruled the ball was lost forward which means the Blues stay top after another ugly win.

Mathewson touched down for the Blues' only try, with the rest of their points coming from the boot of Lachie Munro who kicked four penalties.

Just like last week's borefest in Dunedin, the match failed to live up to it's expectations but that was partly due to the wet conditions that made handling difficult.

Munro won the battle of the boot against Hurricanes' pivot Aaron Cruden in the first half, which took the Blues into a 9-3 lead at half-time.

The Hurricanes were a different kettle of fish after the break however, and it looked like lock Jeremy Thrush was over for a well-worked try from a line-out. But he lost the ball forward inches from the line.

Luckily for Thrush, the mobile forward made amends by charging down and regathering a Stephen Brett kick. Thrush then did well to pop the ball up to Cruden who set off towards the tryline before finding Hosea Gear in support, and the winger finished off in the corner.

The ensuing conversion was missed by Cruden, but he was on target with a penalty a few minutes later to give the Hurricanes the lead for the first time in the match (11-9).

Keats wasn't long on the field before being sin-binned for a spear tackle, and can count his lucky stars it wasn't a red.

Munro put the Blues back in front from the resultant penalty, before Mathewson extended his team's lead to six points after throwing a dummy and dotting down from close range.

Munro missed from bang in front which gave the Hurricanes a glimmer of hope. But it wasn't to be as the final move of the match ended in a Keats' knock-on which allowed the Blues to sneak home with four crucial points.

The scorers:

For Hurricanes:
Try: Gear
Pens: Cruden 2

For Blues:
Try: Mathewson
Pens: Munro 4

Hurricanes: 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Jayden Hayward, 12 Daniel Kirkpatrick, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Chris Eaton, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jason Eaton, 3 Neemia Tialata, 2 Andrew Hore (c), 1 John Schwalger.
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Anthony Perenise, 18 Jeremy Thrush, 19 Mark Reddish, 20 Tyson Keats, 21 Julian Savea, 22 Beauden Barrett.

Blues: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Benson Stanley, 11 Lachie Munro, 10 Stephen Brett, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Peter Saiili, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Chris Lowrey, 3 John Afoa, 2 Keven Mealamu (c), 1 Tevita Mailau.
Replacements: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 James King, 19 Sean Tolwart, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 Aaron Bancroft, 22 Sherwin Stowers.

Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)

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