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Hurricanes

  • Savea,
    Penalty goals: Barrett (2),
    Conversions: Barrett (2),
20 - 34

Blues

  • Ranger, Piutau, Halai (2),
    Penalty goals: Weepu (4),
    Conversions: Weepu,
  • Super Rugby
  • Overall Group
  • 23rd Feb 2013
  • KO 06:35
  • Ground: Westpac Trust Stadium

Hurricanes v Blues - Super Rugby match preview

Last updated: 23rd February 2013   Subscribe to RSS Feed

John Kirwan Blues coach 2012

John Kirwan: will be hoping for an improved 2013 after bagging just four wins last season

Mark Hammett Hurricanes coach 2012

Mark Hammett: Can the Hurricanes repeat their exploits from last season?

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The Hurricanes kick off the new Super 15 rugby season against the Blues in Wellington on Saturday.

Mark Hammett's men were 2012's surprise package as they played a brand of rugby that caused all opposition real problems.

They unearthed the talents of Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara and Julian Savea while Conrad Smith thrived as skipper following senior players' exits.

Four points stood between the Hurricanes and a place in the play-offs, which was an impressive feat seeing as few had given the 'Canes a chance.

This year it is the Blues who have been branded as somewhat no-hopers in a quintet that should provide plenty of entertainment from now until July.

Take note of names such as Frank Halai, Francis Saili and current New Zealand Sevens representative Ben Lam, who has been excellent on the IRB circuit this season. Also factor in something of a dream coaching trio of Sir Graham Henry, Sir John Kirwan and Mick Byrne and their rebuilding job is underway.

Spectacle

Saturday's fixture should be a high-octane spectacle that sees two key players clash at outside centre. Smith, as mentioned, was consistently superb last season while this campaign a maturing Rene Ranger has been given greater responsibility to lead.

Ranger has long possessed the necessary tools that should have made him one of the most lethal backs in the competition. Unfortunately, his route to regular All Black recognition has not materialised.

This might be his year though - following Richard Kahui announcing his upcoming venture to Japan while Tamati Ellison is injured for most of the campaign - and we may also see a potentially lethal combo with Saili settle sooner rather than later.

All the ingredients bode well for a fantastic 80 minutes at Westpac Stadium as the 'Canes, missing Cory Jane, hope that Savea and Andre Taylor offer sufficient threats to get past a Blues line-up that has trained exceptionally hard during their pre-season.

Hurricanes: 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Conrad Smith (c), 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Brad Shields, 7 Karl Lowe, 6 Victor Vito, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Ben May, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Reggie Goodes, 18 Mark Reddish, 19 Faifili Levave, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 James Marshall, 22 Reynold Lee-Lo.

Blues: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Francis Saili, 11 George Moala, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Ali Williams (c), 4 Culum Retallick, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tom McCartney.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Angus Ta'avao, 18 Liaki Moli, 19 Brendon O'Connor, 20 Bryn Hall, 21 Baden Kerr, 22 Jackson Willison.

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Forthcoming Super Rugby Fixtures
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Friday 13th February
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06:35Crusaders vs Melbourne Rebels
08:40Brumbies vs Reds
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Saturday 14th February
06:35Blues vs Chiefs
15:05Sharks vs Cheetahs
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Sunday 15th February
06:05Waratahs vs Western Force
Friday 20th February
06:35Chiefs vs Brumbies
08:40Melbourne Rebels vs Waratahs
17:10Bulls vs Hurricanes
Saturday 21st February
06:35Highlanders vs Crusaders
08:40Reds vs Western Force
15:05Stormers vs Blues
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Friday 27th February
06:35Highlanders vs Reds
11:00Western Force vs Hurricanes
17:10Cheetahs vs Blues
Saturday 28th February
06:35Chiefs vs Crusaders
08:40Melbourne Rebels vs Brumbies
15:05Bulls vs Sharks
17:10Lions vs Stormers
Friday 6th March
06:35Chiefs vs Highlanders
08:40Brumbies vs Western Force
Saturday 7th March
06:35Blues vs Lions
08:40Reds vs Waratahs

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Phil Edwards

Phil Edwards

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