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'Worse than disappointing': Hurricanes slammed by ex-All Blacks after Blues loss

By Kim Ekin
Du'Plessis Kirifi of the Hurricanes reacts during the round 14 Super Rugby Pacific match between Blues and Hurricanes at Eden Park, on May 27, 2023, in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

The Hurricanes 36-25 loss to the Blues had finals-level intensity as both sides lifted emotionally for the derby but wet conditions made life difficult for both sides.


The visitors struggled at set-piece time completing just 64 per cent of their lineouts which the Blues took advantage of in the first half.

Of the back of two first half tries to Mark Telea the Blues built a 19-10 lead by half-time and despite a fightback in the second half, held on to secure a top four finish in the regular season.

However, ex-All Black Jeff Wilson was skeptical about either side’s credentials as title contenders after the performance, labelling the Hurricanes lineout ‘atrocious’.

“There were a lot of soft tries in this game, a lot of turnovers, mistakes that both teams took advantage of,” Wilson said on Sky Sport NZ‘s post-game show.

“If you start talking about playing against the Brumbies, the Crusaders, and the Chiefs, if you want to win this competition, you need to get a handle on it and control of [the set-piece].

“The Hurricanes lineout for 40 minutes was worse than disappointing, it was atrocious.

“If you want to be a contender, both these sides will need to improve.”

Former All Black John Kirwan lamented the unforced errors in the game which both sides were guilty of.


The Hurricanes scored multiple tries by pouncing on loose passes which kept them in the game, while they themselves switched off at key moments to concede easy tries.

Kirwan recalled Telea’s second try where the Hurricanes’ defence parted like the red sea after the Blues had already lost 15 metres of territory only to score under the posts.

“I think you’ve said it correctly,” Kirwan said.

“You cannot win at the next level in play-offs if you are going to lose lineouts.

“You cannot make unforced errors. I understand some of the errors where there is a big hit, but unforced errors, you can’t do that in big games.


“There was this incredible concentration and then this lapse of concentration.


“At one stage, Du’Plessis Kirifi, I thought ‘can he just not see Telea?’, but it was just these moments.

“It was an interesting game of real intensity and then big mistakes.”

Former Black Fern and Chiefs Manawa centre Chelsea Semple said that the goal kicking ‘wasn’t good enough’ and ultimately cost the Hurricanes.

They kicked just 28 per cent of their attempts at goal missing three conversions and two penalties for a total of 12 points.

“It felt to me like a little bit of lack of communication between the players and at this stage of the season they should be pretty well aware of how each other operate,” Semple said.

“The other big issue for me heading into play-offs where the amount of points that were left out there on the tee. It’s just not good enough.

“If a kick is from the 15 or in, that should be a gimme. I hope the players go away and work on their goal kicking during the week.”

The Hurricanes play the Crusaders in the final round whilst the Blues host the Highlanders.


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