Hurricanes beat Blues 39-20 in Super Rugby
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The Hurricanes stretched their mid-season winning streak to three games, scoring three second-half tries to claim a record 39-20 win over New Zealand conference rivals the Blues in Super Rugby on Friday.
The Wellington-based Hurricanes squandered an early 13-3 lead to trail 17-13 at halftime but recovered with four second-half tries — to All Blacks Julian Savea, TJ Perenara and Conrad Smith and to replacement hooker Motu Matu’u — to post their fourth win from eight games.
They added a four-try bonus point to rise as high as fifth place on the ladder at the start of the 10th round.
The Auckland-based Blues suffered their 12th straight loss away from home in a streak stretching back to the first match of the 2013 season when they beat the Hurricanes 34-20 at Wellington.
The match lacked structure, as was to be expected in a clash between two of the least-organized teams in Super Rugby. Both teams contain superbly talented individuals but lack mature attacking and defensive patterns, resulting in matches which are often shambolic.
In that sense, the Blues are worse than the Hurricanes. They showed few signs of composure, organization, structure or common purpose on Friday and fell apart against the steady attacking threat of the Hurricanes in the second half.
Their best period came immediately before halftime, when the Hurricanes were briefly reduced to 14 men and they scored a try to winger George Moala and a penalty try from a scrum to lead 17-13.
The Hurricanes seized an early lead with a try to center Alapati Leiua but the Blues’ revival put them into the match, on better than even terms, as the first half came to a close.
The Hurricanes rocked the Blues with a try to winger Savea in the 49th minute, reclaiming the lead, then added tries to Perenara, Smith and Matu’u to post their largest ever win over the Blues. They were coming off a ninth-round bye and their win places them in playoffs contention.
“It’s early days and we’re just back to level-pegging in terms of wins and losses,” Hurricanes captain Smith said. “There’s a long way to go.
“But I’ve thought it all year, and I thought it when we were 0-3 at the start of the year, there’s a bit of mettle in this team and a long way to go. I just knew we needed to get a bit of confidence back in our game and that’s how seasons go.
“We’ve still got a lot of hard work. We drop one in the next few weeks and we’re back in the heap.”
Hurricanes 39 (Alapati Leiua, Julian Savea, TJ Perenara, Conrad Smith, Motu Matu’u tries; Beauden Barrett 4 conversions, 2 penalties), Blues 20 (George Moala try; penalty try; Chris Noakes conversion, penalty; Benji Marshall conversion, penalty). HT: 13-17.