Blues 37 – 24 Hurricanes
31st May 2014 Ground: Eden Park, Auckland
The Blues maintained their unbeaten home record in the competition to close the gap in mid-table with a 37-24 win over the Hurricanes.
Scoring five tries to their opponents’ four, including a controversial penalty try before the break, there is no doubt that the Blues deserved this success, which saw them claim five points to draw closer to the half-a-dozen teams in mid-table.
If the Eden Park-based team could play like this on their travels then they would surely be able to trouble the teams at the top of the table. They won this the hard way, coming from behind after an early Faifili Levave try gave the Hurricanes a great start, Beauden Barrett converting.
Ihaia West reduced the deficit with a penalty for the Blues, who went ahead soon after when the TMO awarded the Blues a penalty try after Ma’a Nonu’s pass went to ground off Matt Proctor’s hand. It looked a harsh decision on the Hurricanes.
However, they proved to be their own worst enemies when failing to find touch from a penalty, allowing the Blues to recycle the ball well enough to see winger Lolagi Visinia chip and chase his own kick to regather and score.
Turning around 15-7 ahead, the home side were further boosted with a superb score from powerhouse number eight Jerome Kaino just two minutes into the second-half, and when George Moala dummied his way over shortly afterwards there was little hope for the Hurricanes.
They never gave up, however, Barrett’s acceleration creating a wonderful score for Julian Savea, though it did not change the momentum of the game for long.
Patrick Tuipulotu added a fifth and final try for the Blues to make certain of victory, before Ardie Savea and then a second from Levave gave the scoreboard a feeling of greater respectability for the visitors.
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.
Date: Saturday, May 31
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 19:35 (local, 07:35 GMT)
Referee: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand)
STATS & Story Source : http://rugbyredefined.com – http://www.rugbydata.com