Palmerston North - Blockbusting wing Julian Savea scored two tries as the Hurricanes downed the Blues 30-23 on Friday to make their best
ever start to a Super Rugby season.
The Hurricanes ran in four
ties to two, making it four wins from four this season, in an open game
of rugby in which the lead changed four times.
The result left the
Blues winless after five games in 2015, heaping further pressure on
coach John Kirwan after their worst start ever.
Keven Mealamu said it was difficult to take after a much-improved
performance from the Blues, who were in the game until Savea's second
try five minutes from time.
"The effort's definitely there, we're working hard, we've just got to get over that slump at the moment," he said.
not about luck, it's about working hard to get ourselves a win. We're
all behind each other. We were close but not close enough."
Hurricanes took only six minutes to breach the Blues' defence, leaving
tacklers standing as the ball went through nine pairs of hands before TJ
Perenara crossed for try.
They threatened again but Savea lost
the ball on the line and then Blues fullback Lolagi Visinia scored a
breakaway try, pouncing on a loose pass and sprinting 70 metres.
Blues seized the lead when Brendan O'Connor made a break and set up a
try for powerful winger Frank Halai, who had three defenders hanging off
him when he finally touched down.
But there was a twist just on
half time as Matt Proctor chased down a Beauden Barrett chip kick for
the Hurricanes' second five-pointer, putting them ahead 18-17.
lead changed twice in rapid succession after the break, first with a
Blues penalty, then when Savea was finally rewarded with a try after
several dangerous runs.
Savea found space outside fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder and latched onto the pass to score in the corner.
scores then remained locked at 25-23 in favour of the Hurricanes for
much of the second half, with both sides resorting to wild passes as
they searched for a breakthrough.
It fell Savea's way five minutes
from time, when the Hurricanes patiently built pressure and kept the
ball alive with slick passing to give the winger his second try.Scorers:
Tries: 6' TJ Perenara, 40' Matt Proctor, 48' Julian Savea, 75' Julian Savea
Conversions: 40' Beauden Barrett, 49' Beauden Barrett
Penalties: 5' Beauden Barrett, 16' Beauden Barrett
Tries: 19' Lolagi Visinia, 27' Frank Halai
Conversions: 20' Ihaia West, 28' Ihaia West
Penalties: 32' Ihaia West, 46' Ihaia West, 53' Ihaia West
Hurricanes: 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Matt Proctor, 13 Conrad Smith (captain), 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Mark Abbott, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Reggie Goodes
Substitutes: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 18 Chris Eves, 19 Jeremy Thrush, 20 Blade Thomson, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Rey Lee-Lo, 23 James Marshall
Blues: 15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Charles Piutau, 12 Francis Saili, 11 Melani Nanai, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Jimmy Cowan/Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Luke Braid (captain), 6 Brendon O'Connor, 5 Patrick Tuipulotu, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tony Woodcock
Substitutes: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Angus Ta'avao/Sam Prattley, 19 Hayden Triggs, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park/Bryn Hall, 22 Simon Hickey, 23 George Moala