The Blues have got their Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign back on track with a 27-17 victory over the Hurricanes at Eden Park in Auckland.
The defeat puts the Wellingtonians back into the losers’ circle after their maiden win of the season over the Highlanders last week, leaving them rooted to the bottom of the competition’s standings.
With that in mind, here’s how the Hurricanes rated:
15. Jordie Barrett – 6.5
Missed a 51 metre penalty by a slim margin. Followed that up with an inexplicable spillage from a Leger bomb kick. Nailed the next four shots at goal, including a monster 55 metre effort, but again showed his shakiness in the air near the end of the first half. His spiral punting ability was on full show, though.
14. Julian Savea – 6
Barely sighted in the first half. Spilled the ball cold after some good work on his inside to breach the Blues’ defence in the 55th minute. Burst into life when he cantered into opposition territory with a big clean break midway through the second half. Off in the 72nd minute.
13. Billy Proctor – 6
Heavily involved on attack. Solid but unspectacular. Off in the 58th minute.
12. Ngani Laumape – 7.5
Showed some good variation in attack, as has been the case all season, and continues to prove his worth as a multi-faceted attacking threat rather than just as a ball-carrying bulldozer. Will be a big loss for the franchise if reports of him going to Stade Francais are true.
11. Salesi Rayasi – 8
Pierced through the defensive line and was threatening throughout the opening quarter of an hour. Lethal offloading and stepping ability. Looks a long-term occupant of the franchise’s No 11 jersey.
10. Orbyn Leger – 6
Strange option to put up a midfield bomb that was poorly executed midway through the first half. Orchestrated the backline well enough, but a bit more flare in such a crucial attacking position would serve the Hurricanes well.
9. Luke Campbell – 5
Showed a decent box kicking game, but his influence with ball in hand was largely subdued. Off in the 61st minute.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 3, 2021
8. Ardie Savea – 7
Fended off by Mark Telea and spilled the ball inside the first five minutes. Applied good pressure at the breakdown in the 19th minute to earn his side a penalty. Was his usual energetic self on attack all game long, though. Hard done by by referee Brendon Pickerill for supposedly dragging the rolling maul down which led to a penalty try and a yellow card. The heartbeat of this side.
7. Du’Plessis Kirifi – 5.5
Heavily involved on attack, without too much effect. Sent to the sin bin for a reckless clear out on Otere Black. Was then pinged for playing the ball illegally on the ground, although the officiating on that decision was questionable. Good work rate defensively, but needs to lower the penalty count if he’s to further his All Blacks ambitions. Off in the 63rd minute.
6. Reed Prinsep – 6
Got into his work well without catching the eye too much. Capitalised on some good pressure to score late on, even if it was too little too late.
5. Scott Scrafton – 6
Earned his side a hard-earned turnover to defuse a rolling maul threat in the 11th minute. Otherwise quiet. Off at half-time.
4. James Blackwell – 5
Hardly seen throughout the match until the 51st minute when his missed tackle was key in TJ Faiane’s try. Worked in tandem well with Walker-Leawere to force a turnover by holding Sam Darry up in a tackle a few minutes later.
3. Tyrel Lomax – 3
Dismantled by the Karl Tu’inukuafe at the scrum in the 23rd minute. Was then pinged for entering through the side of the maul in the lead-up to the Blues’ penalty try, and was then penalised again for being offside at the breakdown, leading to an easy three points for the Blues. His place in the All Blacks squad beginning to look unsafe. Off in the 67th minute.
2. Dane Coles – 7
Mixed bag at the lineout. Good rush defence forced a knock on out of Mark Telea near the half hour mark. Showed some good footwork to turn on a dime out wide.
1. Fraser Armstrong – 4
Pinged for not rolling away inside the first 10 minutes. Was also dismantled by Ofa Tuungafasi at the scrum in the 23rd minute. Subbed at the 37th minute.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 3, 2021
16. Ricky Riccitelli – 5
On in the 67th minute. Overthrew a lineout well inside his own half that eventually led to Mark Telea’s try. Showed good intent with ball in hand.
17. Xavier Numia – 5
On in the 37th minute. Held his own well enough at the scrum. Not much to write about other than that.
18. Tevita Mafileo – 6
On in the 67th minute. Earned a late penalty at the set piece that led to Prinsep’s try.
19. Isaia Walker-Leawere – 7
On at half-time. Felt the full force of the Blues’ defence with his first touch of the ball but did well to stay on his feet. Worked well with Blackwell to earn a penalty via some strong defensive work on Darry. Busy throughout. Really pushing for a starting role.
20. Devan Flanders – 6
On in the 63rd minute. Brought the sort of energy his coaching staff likely would have asked from him. Probably deserving of a start as well.
21. Jonathan Taumateine – N/A
On in the 61st minute. Showed good pressure defensively at times but otherwise quiet.
22. Peter Umaga-Jensen – 6
On in the 58th minute. Still unsure why he isn’t starting. Plenty of power and energy off the bench.
23. Wes Goosen – N/A
On in the 72nd minute.
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now