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Hurricanes coach reflects on 'disappointing' first half vs Blues

By Finn Morton
Photo: Grant Down /

Hurricanes coach Jason Holland has described his sides first half performance as “disappointing” following their tense 19-25 loss to the Blues on Saturday evening.


The Hurricanes began their season with two solid performances against the Reds and Rebels, but were still ranked outsiders heading into their first New Zealand derby of the year.

Playing in the first Super Rugby Pacific match at Sky Stadium this season, the Blues ran out to a commanding 10-nil lead midway through the first-half.

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While the Hurricanes were able to hit back through prop Tyrel Lomax shortly after, their poor discipline began to cost them.

Lock Isaia Walker-Leawere was yellow carded inside the final 10 minutes of the half, and the visitors made the most of their one player advantage.

All Blacks Caleb Clarke and Hoskins Sotutu both crossed for five-pointers within four minutes of each other, which gave the Blues an emphatic 22-5 lead at the break.

While the Hurricanes showed plenty of grit, passion and character throughout the second-half, coach Holland highlighted the team’s poor discipline throughout the opening 40.


“The first half was quite disappointing,” Holland told reporters. “Just our ability to be disciplined is a massive thing for us.


“It meant that we spent long sets defending and didn’t get the ability to stamp our mark on the game.

“Discipline and how we manage that first half with our intent really is a big thing for me that we talked about at halftime and got right in the second-half.”


The Hurricanes had a chance to break the hearts of Blues supporters in the dying stages of their epic clash, but ultimately pulled up short.

Led by playmaker Jordie Barrett, the team from the capital unleashed one last raid on the Blues’ try-line.

With their home fans behind them, the Canes players were relentless in their pursuit of what could’ve been a match winning score.

But the Hurricanes’ fairytale finish wasn’t meant to be.

The Canes made a couple of surprising decisions late in the piece, including a quick tap after awarded a penalty and a poor Jordie Barrett grubber kick attempt.

“We got some pictures that we think if we executed well we would’ve secured, and then the scrum was the same in the back end,” Holland added.

“I think Jordie’s had a crack at the kick because we’ve got advantage there.

“There was a couple of set-pieces there, the tap penalty at the scrum where we had some really clear pictures of a couple of things we’d trained which we didn’t quite nail which is the big moments in these games.”

This year’s Super Rugby season is shaping up to be one of the tightest competitions in recent memory.

The Fijian Drua recorded a staggering 25-24 win over defending champions the Crusaders on Saturday, and the Chiefs & Brumbies are the only undefeated teams left in Super Rugby this season.

“The top eight is going to be massive and anybody can win on their day.

“Those little things you’ve been talking around… the big moments that you don’t know they’re big moments until you haven’t quite nailed them.

“I think we’re in for a good competition. There’ll be some good game sand some close games and some good footy.”

The Hurricanes are back at Sky Stadium next week for another Trans-Tasman derby.

This time, they’ll take on the NSW Waratahs at 7:05pm NZT on Friday.


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