Super Rugby: Blues claim surprise win over the Hurricanes
Last Updated: February 23, 2013 12:30pm
The Blues made a superb start to their Super Rugby season as they claimed a 34-20 bonus-point win over the Hurricanes at Westpac Stadium.
Despite winning just four matches last year and being one of the most unfancied sides at the start of the current campaign, the visitors shocked the Hurricanes by scoring four tries in a comfortable win.
Frank Halai grabbed a brace while Charles Piutau and Rene Ranger also crossed, with Piri Weepu kicking the remaining points for the Auckland-based side.
The Hurricanes, who were without the injured Cory Jane, led at half-time but were overrun in the second period by an impressive Blues back-line.
The Blues got off to a good start as Weepu slotted over a penalty for a 3-0 lead, but the Hurricanes responded soon after as Beauden Barrett levelled the scores the kicked another three points to give the hosts the lead.
It was not long until the Blues' backs were firing, however, as George Moala smashed his way through Conrad Smith before Ranger fired a miss pass out to Halai for the opening try.
But the Blues looked passive in defence and allowed Julian Savea to go over in the corner, with Barrett's conversion giving the home side a 13-8 lead before Weepu narrowed matters with his second penalty.
The Blues started well in the second half, Chris Noakes breaking through before a second-man play out wide saw full-back Charles Piutau crash over the line.
The Hurricanes got their noses back in front when referee Vinny Munro then controversially sin-binned Halai for purposely knocking the ball into the in-goal area and awarded the hosts a penalty try.
The Blues may have been expected to crumble at that point but instead produced a brilliant response, which started when Weepu sent over a penalty to narrow the deficit to just a point with 20 minutes remaining.
Outside centre Ranger then put his side ahead with a brilliant try as he brushed off three defenders to storm over the line.
Moala then grabbed and interception and raced 40 metres downfield, and from the ensuing ruck the ball was spun wide for Halai to crash over for his second try. A penalty on full-time by Weepu put the icing on the cake as the Blues came away with five points.