The arrival of both Beauden Barrett and Dan Carter in Auckland ensured that Blues fans entered the new season of Super Rugby Aotearoa with positive attitudes.

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After beating the Hurricanes at home before the season was cancelled, the Blues were looking for back-to-back wins over their Kiwi conference rivals.

Here’s how the visitors rated in the 30-20 loss.

  1. Fraser Armstrong – 4

Not the best afternoon for the Hurricanes pack in Auckland. Armstrong gave away two penalties, one at scrum time on their own feed, towards the end of the first half. Subbed in 41st minute.

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2. Dane Coles – 6

A memorable try down the right hand touchline showing shades of the younger Coles but a troubled night at line out time as the Blues pack put the pressure on.

Three throws were stolen by the Blues and plenty more were contested leading to disrupted ball for the Hurricanes and poor platforms and missed chances.

3. Tyrel Lomax – 4

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Stable at scrum time but there were only a few. Gave away a penalty at the ruck which gave the Blues one of three second-half penalties which put the game away.

4. James Blackwell – 6

Industrious around the park making nine tackles and was one of the better line out performers on the night. Stole two Blues’ throws to peg the ledger back. Generated the most post-contact metres of the Hurricanes’ pack after Coles and carried the most times.

Strong effort but the night was summed up by his carry into Pat Tuipulotu on the last launch by the Hurricanes in the first half where he was hammered back and coughed up possession.

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5. Scott Scrafton – 3

A quiet night for the Auckland-import with no carries and three tackles, missing one. Overall part of a Hurricanes’ pack that failed too much at line out time and lost the gain line battle. Subbed in 41st minute.

6. Reed Prinseep – 6

Had his first line out target stolen but improved after that. Got through a high work rate in defence with 14 tackles.

7. Du’Plessis Kirifi – 5

Played a lot of halfback off lineout at set piece. Completed six tackles without missing one and won one turnover.

Couldn’t clean Papalii out late in the first half and save his side conceding a holding on penalty.

8. Gareth Evans – 6

Became the Hurricanes’ top line out option, taking five throws. Had spurts of great play including winning a key penalty at the breakdown after a Beauden Barrett kick return and an amazing save after a Caleb Clarke line break where he won his second holding on penalty with the Hurricanes scrambling.

9. TJ Perenara – 6

Showed smarts and guile to milk first Hurricanes’ penalty. Took over the exit kicking and kicked long and deep. Played a lot as a first receiving option on a number of Hurricanes’ launches. Decision-making was influential in first half in constructing Lam’s try.

10. Jackson Garden-Bachop – 6

A solid performance for Garden-Bachop who provided good distribution on the Hurricanes’ launch plays and had a nice touch to lay on Ben Lam’s try. Took on the line early and sparked a nice exit break early in the first half.

Was reliable in the backfield and fairly safe controlling territory but was caught out rushing up with a nice grubber from TJ Ioane for Dalton Papalii’s try. His missed kicks off the tee left a few points on the table.

11. Ben Lam – 5

Finished a walk over try but was well-covered by the Blues. A few nice carries down the left edge but was kept largely in check.

12. Ngani Laumape – 5

Often sandwiched in two-man tackles by the Blues midfield which stifled his carrying at times. Defensively solid but overall a tough night for the midfielder conceding a few penalties.

13. Vince Aso – 5

Made some great reads rushing up for spot tackles behind the gain line but unfortunately his first one led to Rieko Ioane streaking away downfield and Caleb Clarke scoring the opening try. Aso recovered but missed the cover tackle on Clarke.

Came back with a brilliant miss pass on the Hurricanes’ pattern in the lead up to their first try to Coles but overall a mixed night as the pressure D didn’t pay off.

14. Wes Goosen – 5

Lost a couple of aerial contests creating spilled ball for the Hurricanes but returned the pressure on a couple of kick chase contests. Defensively made a lot of tackles for a winger. Didn’t get many opportunities in space but showed nice quick hands to free up Dane Coles for his try.

15. Chase Tiatia – 6

One of the Hurricanes’ best in the first half. Safe under the high ball and cleaned up a few other spilled balls. Provided a beautiful return ball to Jackson Garden-Bachop in the lead up to Lam’s try.

Reserves

Asafo Aumua – 4

Had his first throw stolen and penalised for offside shortly after. Brought some physicality in defence in his short burst.

Tevita Mafileo – 5

Good work rate coming into the game in the second half making six tackles and five carries.

Alex Fidow – n/a

Saw the field for the final 20 minutes.

Isaia Walker-Leawere – 5

Came on for Scrafton and offered impact.

Devan Flanders – n/a

Came on for final two minutes.

Ardie Savea – 5

Played final half hour and offered stability to the Hurricanes pack in his first action of 2020.

Jamie Booth – 5

Brought some energy to the Hurricanes and scored their final try from close range.

Billy Proctor – n/a

Had a couple of runs in 15 minute cameo.

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