Blues overcome late Hurricanes fightback to get Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign back on track
The Blues needed a strong showing in the second half after their inability to punish the Hurricanes’ indiscretions proved costly in the first 40 minutes, as they twice failed to take full advantage of players being sent to the sin bin.
Du’Plessis Kirifi was the first to be sanctioned for cleaning out Otere Black in the 17th minute. The Hurricanes not only made it through the 10-minute penalty without conceding but saw Jordie Barrett score the game’s first penalty.
The Blues went in front just after the half-hour mark when referee Brendon Pickerill awarded a penalty try after Ardie Savea was judged to have collapsed a maul that was driv ing toward the line.
Savea was sin binned for the offence, but again the Blues could not take full advantage, with Barrett kicking a pair of penalties either side of a successful effort from Black to leave the game evenly balanced at halftime.
Barrett put the Highlanders back in front with his fourth penalty seven minutes after the restart, only for the Blues to retake the lead in the 51st minute when Faiane crossed the line.
Auckland’s second try of the match came after Stephen Perofeta burst through the gain line before slipping a pass for Faiane to cross unopposed.
With 15 minutes to go, Telea scored in the corner to finish off a move started by Rieko Ioane, and Black’s conversion gave the Blues a 12-point cushion.
Prinsep powered over the Blues’ line four minutes from the end to keep the Highlanders alive, but with Barrett missing the conversion, Black kicked a late penalty as the home side held on.
Blues 27 (Tries to TJ Faiane, Mark Telea, penalty try; 2 conversions and 2 penalties to Otere Black)
Hurricanes 17 (Try to Reed Prinsep; 4 penalties to Jordie Barrett; yellow cards to Du’Plessis Kirifi and Ardie Savea)
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