Hurricanes, Blues and Highlanders lodge big wins in Super Rugby pre-season
The Highlanders have beaten the NSW Waratahs 55-29 in their pre-season Super Rugby match in Queenstown, whilst the Hurricanes and Blues have trounced the Crusaders and Chiefs in their New Zealand derbies.
The Highlanders took a while to get into their match, with the Waratahs leading 10-7 after the first of three 30-minute intervals, before running away with the next 48 points.
Mid-fielder Rob Thompson bagged a hattrick in his first outing since re-signing with the Highlanders for three years, rewarded for backing up with great support running.
The surprise inclusion of All Black fullback Ben Smith lasted 40 minutes in a lively performance before being taken off the field. Young first five-eighth Josh Ioane also impressed in his first match at Super Rugby level.
In Greymouth the Hurricanes came away with a convincing 43-22 win over the Crusaders, the match all but over early in the second half as the Hurricanes held a 36-5 lead.
None of the All Blacks from last year’s end of season tour were available for the match.
In Te Kuiti the Chiefs hosted the Blues where the visitors ran out 45-19 winners. The match was tied 14-all after the first interval before a host of changes saw the match turn in the Blues favour.
Athletic teenage lock Waimana Riedlinger-Kapa scored two tries for a Blues side that scored five of their seven tries in the second half.
The Chiefs were disjointed at times under new coach Colin Cooper and the Blues were the more cohesive unit despite both sides ringing in the personnel changes.
All sides involved will now begin preparations for next weekend’s Brisbane Tens before a final pre-season match.
Hurricanes 43 (Jonah Lowe 3, Ben Lam, Julian Savea, Finlay Christie, Vince Aso tries; Jackson Garden-Bachop 2 con, Ihaia West 2 con) beat Crusaders 22 (Billy Harmon, Jack Stratham, Tima Faingaanuku, Manasa Mataele tries; Brett Cameron con)
Blues 45 (Waimana Riedlinger-Kapa 2, TJ Faiane, Glenn Preston, Antonio Kiri Kiri, Marcel Renata, Dalton Papali’i tries; Bryn Gatland 2 con, Stephen Perofeta con, Daniel Kirkpatrick con, Jonathan Ruru con) Chiefs 19 (Tiaan Falcon, Tim Nanai-Williams, Samisoni Taukei’aho tries; Tiaan Falcon 2 con)
Highlanders 55 (Ron Thompson 3, Greg Pleasants-Tate, Jackson Hemopo, Josh Ioane, Fletcher Smith, Dillon Hunt, Tevita Nabura tries; Ioane 2 con; Smith 3 con) Waratahs 29 (Alex Newsome 2, Seb Wileman 2, Kelly Meafua tries; Mack Mason 2 cons)
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