The Blues came to Sky Stadium knowing a win over the Hurricanes would keep their hopes of winning Super Rugby Aotearoa alive. The Hurricanes were hoping that it would be third time lucky this year, losing the previous two clashes against the Aucklanders in 2020.
The Blues incredibly managed to stay in contention with only 35% of the possession but Jordie Barrett broke the stalemate with a sideline conversion to get the Hurricanes home 29-27.
Here’re the Blues player ratings.
1 Alex Hodgman 5.5
Not the stellar performance he stamped out last week. Lost the scrum battle with Lomax and just before halftime a turnover mistake that got the home team back on level terms. Off at 49.
2 Kurt Eklund 7
Biggest Scandinavian hit since ABBA. Started on the Money Money Money with a turnover on Laumape in the 1st min. Was a Super Trouper with the line out purring and said Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! at the lineout maul and crashed over for a well deserved try. Hasta Mañana at 63 minutes.
3 Ofa Tuungafasi 6
Scrum was the root of the Blues problem in the first half with no go forward. Still powerful in contact. Off at 67.
4 Patrick Tuipulotu 6
Has gone off the boil in open play with a subdued outing for the second week in a row. Still a force in defence and in the trenches.
5 Josh Goodhue 6.5
Underrated player and one of the keys to the Blues improvement this season. Top line out takes and 13 tackles. Slight error to compete at the defensive line out that led to Princep try. Off at 49.
6 Aaron Carroll 6
Good tight/loose display in the drizzle. Off at 45
7 Dalton Papalii 7.5
Blues best player for second week in a row. Top tackler in match with 18, most of them dominant. Great lineout maul try, his 4th this year. Moved to blindside early in 2nd half and soared high in lineout. Only error was the miss on Laumape in the lead up to Coles try. With his versatility he could be a great bench option for the All Blacks this year.
8 Akira Ioane 6
Tough day at the office for his return at number 8. Lack of control at the back of the back peddling scrum. Showed his power as he gouged himself over for a try at 57 minutes.
9 Finlay Christie 5.5
Like Hodgman he couldn’t back up with the same standard as last week. Molested by Perenara at scrum time, got caught by the second shove a few times as well when a quick clearance was required. A frazzled pass into Carroll’s head showed he was off kilter. Improved in the second half and off at 59.
10 Otere Black 5.5
Black’s game playing flat at the line works better with some go forward so he was neutralised. A clatter into Lam’s legs after a brave claim on the ground ended his night at 43 minutes.
11 Mark Telea 6
Works well off the ball but couldn’t get space. Good turnover off Garden Bachop in 54th minute.
There's a 9 in there.
Finn Morton rates the Canes ???https://t.co/4dCJo5Aq67
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) July 18, 2020
12 Harry Plummer 5
Wasn’t his night. Came out of the line to gift Kirifi the break that led to Narawa yellow card, got himself caught for obstruction in the 21st minute in front of Akira Ioane. Off at 45.
13 Rieko Ioane 6.5
Big miss on Umaga-Jenson in the lead up to Coles try but other than that 17 quality tackles. Limited chances on attack but a couple of loose pops for glory early went astray. Later in the game he held on more and went to ground and that worked better.
14 Emoni Narawa 6
Yellow carded but saved the day when Laumape looked like he would get his 2nd try. Some strong tackles but no real chances with the ball.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) July 18, 2020
15 Beauden Barrett 6.5
It was an up and down day for the star. Skinned by Laumape in the 4th and 12th minutes, jeered by the Hurricanes crowd he shut them up for a while in the 9th minute with an awesome individual try. Looked really good when he stepped into first receiver and perhaps we’ll see more of that for the rest of the season.
16 Luteru Tolai 5.5
On at 63 and is owed a refreshment by the person who delivered his name round the wrong way in the programme.
17 Marcel Renata 6
On at 49. Steadied the scrum well. Lost a crucial ball at 70 minutes when the Blues were on a roll.
18 Sione Mafileo N/A
On at 67
19 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti 6
On at 49 for his 50th Blues game. Snappy lineout steal at 59 minutes.
20 Tony Lamborn 5
On at 45. A couple of knock-ons spoiling an industrious performance.
21 Jonathan Ruru 5.5
On at 59, looked active but got caught not rolling away in 75th minute that led to the Hurricane’s last try.
22 TJ Faiane 6.5
On at 45. Left wondering what would have been if he’d been there to chop Laumape down earlier.
23 Matt Duffie 5.5
On at 43 but quiet.
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