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Errors costly for Hurricanes

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Sportal.co.nz     24 Feb 2013     Getty Images

The home side were outscored four tries to two by Sir John Kirwan's new-look Blues side as winger Frank Halai scored a brace on debut to bookend five-pointers to George Piutau and Rene Ranger.

The Hurricanes scored their opening try through All Blacks winger Julian Savea in the first half before they were controversially awarded a penalty try when Halai was adjudged to have deliberately knocked the ball out of play to deny Savea a second.

Halai was also sent to the sinbin.

While the Hurricanes got themselves in positions to score more tries they were unable to keep hold of the ball long enough to convert the chances into points.

"It felt like we lost the game," said Hammett. "I think we had 18 turnovers and 13 of those were just dropsies.

"I'm not quite sure what we put that down to. Whether it was nerves or depth.

"The boys were certainly focused, there's no doubt about that. You could see that with the intensity and you could see that when we did put things together.

"Five of those turnovers were off set-piece. You just can't do that. They are too valuable. I thought our set-piece worked pretty well."

Gaping holes appeared in the Hurricanes' defence in the second half which George Moala, Francis Saili and Piutau ruthlessly exposed.

"You turn ball over and they (the Blues) are going to be dangerous. Any team is hard to defend on turnover ball and these guys, and I'm sure they'll prove that the rest of the year, are probably one of the teams you don't want to turn ball over to," Hammett added.

"But it's game one. Naturally we're gutted but it feels like something that can be fixed."

Hammett had no doubt his side deserved the penalty try, which came in the 57th minute and edged the Hurricanes back in front.

The Blues felt the decision had been a harsh one and Hammett accepted it was tough in the fact it had occurred in the left-hand corner and that penalty tries get awarded under the posts.

"It's a pity they don't give the try where it probably would have been scored," he said. "But that's the rule. It was a penalty try. But it's probably harsh on the team ... in that it's put under the posts so it's a guaranteed seven."

Hurricanes flanker Victor Vito said the mistakes could not be put down to early season rustiness.

"Everyone is in the same boat. (The Blues) finished some pretty silky tries. We watched the game yesterday (between the Highlanders and Chiefs) and it was pretty fast and free-flowing and there weren't that many mistakes too.

"It's just us. We need to focus in on what went wrong and try and get our skills up.

"We've got to quickly take our learnings from this game. We've got a short turnaround now. We've got the Reds next week away on Friday. We haven't got too long to lick our wounds."