Hurricanes edge past Blues

    2015-03-13 10:20

    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.

    Veteran hooker 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.

    "It's 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."

    The 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.

    The 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.

    The 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.

    The 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.



    Tries: 6' TJ Perenara, 40' Matt Proctor, 48' Julian Savea, 75' Julian Savea

    Conversions40' Beauden Barrett, 49' Beauden Barrett

    Penalties: 5' Beauden Barrett, 16' Beauden Barrett


    Tries: 19' Lolagi Visinia, 27' Frank Halai

    Conversions20' 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

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