Hurricanes add to Blues' misery
Sportal.co.nz 04 May 2012 Getty Images
Trailing 12-16 the Blues were right in the match at half-time thanks to Piri Weepu's four penalties.
But the Hurricanes took charge in the second spell as tries by Julian Savea, TJ Perenara and Jason Eaton followed first-half efforts from Conrad Smith and Andre Taylor.
Benson Stanley's five-pointer five minutes from time was no more than a consolation for the visitors.
Perenara is growing more important to the Hurricanes each week and he more than matched his All Blacks opposite, who has indicated he wants to return to the Hurricanes next year.
Ma'a Nonu had a mixed night on his return to Westpac Stadium. He put a couple of bruising tackles in on Beauden Barrett and Perenara but there were none of his trademark busts in midfield, where he more often than not chose to put boot to ball to mixed effect.
Cory Jane had a big hand in both of the Hurricanes' first-half tries which were conjured up out of virtually nothing in an entertaining half of rugby where the lead changed hands several times.
Weepu was booed every time he lined up a penalty kick but it was his perfect four from four that kept the Blues well in the hunt for just their second win of the campaign at half-time.
The former Hurricanes halfback got the Blues on the scoreboard early but it was Smith's 11th minute try that got the 11,624 crowd cheering.
The Hurricanes captain dotted down after Jane put Blues winger George Moala under pressure as he tried to gather a Barrett crossfield bomb.
Moala couldn't hold on and Smith gathered the loose ball when the bounce eluded Taylor.
Three minutes later and gutsy last-ditch defence from TJ Perenara and Tim Bateman saw Chris Lowrey denied a try after a powerful run to the line by the blindside flanker. Perenara scragged him, then Bateman got underneath him before Perenara's leg stopped Lowrey from grounding the ball.
Weepu and Barrett then traded penalties before Weepu's fourth kick of the night opened up a 12-8 advantage for the visitors.
But some individual excellence from Jane, who slipped Weepu's tackle then fended off Moala, and Taylor's silky running and speed resulted in the Hurricanes fullback going over in the corner for his eighth try of the season.
A Barrett penalty gave the Hurricanes a 16-12 lead at the break.
Weepu failed to close the gap early in the second half when he had his first miss of the night and the Blues had another lucky escape when Savea put a foot in touch as he went to score in the corner.
It was some strong running by Dane Coles that sparked the almost try but his collision with Lowrey left the Blues loose forward stricken on the turf and he had to be helped from the pitch with what looked like concussion.
Having missed out on one try, Savea was not about to waste another opportunity and he barrelled his way over in the 57th minute after great ball handling from his captain Smith gave him the space to score in the left-hand corner.
The Hurricanes grabbed the bonus-point thanks to a well-deserved try for Perenara. When Reg Goodes was held up over the line, the Hurricanes won the five metre scrum and Perenara at first receiver ran wide into the corner.
Some individual brilliance from Rene Ranger, who gathered his own chip kick, set up Stanley's consolation effort.
But Jason Eaton ensured the Hurricanes had the final say as he dived over by the posts.
Scorers: Hurricanes 35 (Jason Eaton, TJ Perenara, Julian Savea, Conrad Smith, Andre Taylor tries; Beauden Barrett 2 con, 2 pen) Blues 19 (Benson Stanley trt; Lachie Munro con, Piri Weepu 4 pen). HT:16-12
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