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Five-try Hurricanes blow away the Blues

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Sportal.co.nz     18 Apr 2014     Getty Images

Backed again by makeshift second five-eighths Alapati Leiua and the prolific goal-kicking boot of Beauden Barrett, who passed 500 points in Super Rugby during the game, they proved too much for a Blues side who again made too many unforced errors to be a serious force in the game.

It was their 12th loss in succession away from home and their greatest points margin loss to the Hurricanes.

Their superiority could have been greater had two tries not been disallowed when referred to the TMO. It was symptomatic of the Blues' night that they were unable to capitalise fully on the sin-binning absence of Hurricanes' hooker Dane Coles for nearly the first 10 minutes of the second half.

Leiua scored the first try of the game in the 13th minute. It came after a double round by Savea across on the right wing side. Cory Jane set up the ruck and when the ball was moved back, Leuia stepped between the tackle attempts of second five-eighths Jackson Willison and wing George Moala to score.

Savea looked to have scored the second try for the Hurricanes after a kick ahead by Barrett which was well taken by Leiua but his pass to Savea outside was ruled forward.

However, more constructive play from the Blues resulted in their first trty from a lineout drive close to the Hurricanes line and it was lock Patrick Tuipolotu who slipped the blindside pass to Moala who scored in the corner. Noakes' sideline conversion got the Blues back to 10-13 down.

The Hurricanes thought they had another try when some more good work in chasing a kick through by Barrett with Savea securing the ball and linking with lock James Broadhurst who passed behind Blues fullback Charles Piutau to hooker Dane Coles. Coles made a spectacular dive for the corner but was ruled to have hit the base of the corner flag a fraction before grounding the ball.

The Blues lost Noakes just before the break and he was replaced by Benji Marshall. He had time to take part in a Blues breakout and went close to scoring, but Coles was ruled to have infringed and was sin-binned. The half-time hooter had gone but the Blues opted for a scrum and attempted a pushover try.

In the resulting play the Hurricanes were ruled to have impinged the likelihood of the Blues scoring a try and a penalty try was awarded with Marshall adding the conversion to give them an unlikely 17-13 lead at the break.

The Blues were unable to make the most of Coles' absence and a dreadful botch-up by Moala who was unable to field a box kick in his own 22m area. Good scrum control with the reduced numbers were followed by a series of pick-and-goes before Barrett made the reverse pass which saw Savea plough through to make sure this time around.

Then moments later, in the 51st minute, Hurricanes flanker Jack Lam broke into the Blues territory and linked with Jane. His in-pass was the subject of a TMO inquiry but when flanker Faifili Levave passed it was halfback TJ Perenara who took the ball to score.

Marshall got three points back with a penalty goal, but his clearing kick in the 64th minute was fielded by replacement wing Matt Proctor who flung it wide to Savea in midfield. He kicked another of the several chip kicks he utilised all night and centre Conrad Smith headed off Frank Halai to win the race for the try that put the match beyond doubt.

Another clearing kick, this time from replacement halfback Jamison Gibson-Park, was taken by Proctor and he ran it back up and the ball was moved to the right where replacement front rower Motu Matu'u scored on the final hooter.

Scorers:

Hurricanes 39 (Alapati Leiua, Julian Savea, TJ Perenara, Conrad Smith, Matu Motu'u tries; Beauden Barrett 4 con, 2 pen ) Blues 20 (George Moala, penalty try, tries; Chris Noakes con, pen; Benji Marshall con, pen). HT: 13-17