Auckland - The
Hurricanes cemented their place atop the New Zealand
conference in Super Rugby and likely gained home advantage in impending
playoffs with a 29-5 win Saturday over the Blues.
Hurricanes' 12th win in 13 matches carried them 13 points clear of the
Hamilton-based Chiefs in New Zealand and gave them the same emphatic
margin atop the overall championships table with three matches left in
the regular season.
Heavily depleted by injuries, the Hurricanes
held a slender 3-0 lead until the 35th minute before tries by prop Chris
Eves - his first in Super Rugby - and scrumhalf T.J. Perenara made it
17-0 at half-time.
Second half tries to hooker Dane Coles and
wing Nehe Milner-Skudder swelled the Hurricanes' lead while the Blues
scored through replacement Matt Vaega.
Blues - Try: Matt Vaega
Hurricanes - Try: Chris Eves, TJ Perenara. Dane Coles, Nehe Milner-Skudder. Conversions: Otere Black (3). Penalty: Black
Referee: Nick Briant (NZL)
Lolagi Visinia, 14 Ben Lam, 13 Francis Saili, 12 George Moala, 11
Melani Nanai, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Akira Ioane, 7
Blake Gibson, 6 Brendon O'Connor, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Culum Retallick, 3
Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Sam Prattley
16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Angus Ta’avao, 18 Nic Mayhew, 19 Will Lloyd/Hayden
Triggs, 20 Joe Edwards, 21 Jimmy Cowan, 22 Simon Hickey, 23 Matt Vaega
Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11
Julian Savea, 10 James Marshall, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie
Savea, 6 Blade Thomson, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush (captain ), 3
Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Chris Eves
Subs: 16 Motu
Matu'u, 17 Ben May, 18 Tolu Fahamokioa, 19 Mark Abbott/Callum Gibbins,
20 Brad Shields, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Otere Black, 23 Willis Halaholo