The Hurricanes are deserved leaders of the Super 14 after beating the Blues 34-20 at Albany’s North Harbour Stadium.
The Hurricanes kicked nine penalties and only scored via an intercept try to Hosea Gear, but were the far superior team in the second half primarily due to discipline and a more assured display at the breakdown.
The Blues gave away too many penalties and after an early lead allowed the Hurricanes to be kept in play through penalty licks at goal. These penalties were given away mostly at ruck time where the Blues were perceived to be guilty of slowing down the ball.
The match got off to a fast pace with “a point per minute” scoring and attacking, running rugby from both sides. The nine penalty kicks was a record for Super Rugby games.
The Blues were the better team in the first half and it was only later in the second half that the Hurricanes started to dominate.
The captains had the following to say:
“We were a little bit nervous in the first half, but we got our act together in the second half and put a pretty good perfromance in,” Hore said.
“We let the Hurricanes back in with all those penalties in the first half and weren’t able to build any pressure, but in the second half it just wasn’t good enough,” Blues captain Keven Mealamu said.
Tries: Brett, Afoa
Cons: Brett 2
Pens: Brett 2
Pens: Ripia 5, Weepu 4
Blues: 15 Rudi Wulf, 14 Rene Ranger, 13 Isaia Toeava, 12 Benson Stanley, 11 Joe Rokocoko, 10 Stephen Brett, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Viliami Ma’afu, 7 Serge Lilo, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Anthony Boric, 4 Kurtis Haiu, 3 John Afoa, 2 Keven Mealamu (captain), 1 Tony Woodcock. Replacements: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Charlie Faumuina, 18 Filo Paulo, 19 Peter Saili, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 Daniel Kirkpatrick, 22 Paul Williams.
Hurricanes: 15 Cory Jane, 14 Tamati Ellison, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Willie Ripia, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Scott Waldrom, 6 Nick Crosswell, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Michael Paterson, 3 Neemia Tialata, 2 Andrew Hore (captain), 1 John Schwalger. Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Jacob Ellison, 18 Bryn Evans, 19 Karl Lowe, 20 Tyson Keats, 21 Aaron Cruden, 22 David Smith