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Super Rugby: The Hurricanes secure crucial bonus point win against the Blues
A superb second-half display from the Hurricanes saw them overcome the Blues 39-20 to revive their play-off hopes.
The Hurricanes must have wondered if it was going to be their day as they had two scores chalked off – first from Julian Savea and then Dane Coles – and allowed the Blues back into the game.
However tries from Alapati Leiua, Julian Savea, TJ Perenara, Conrad Smith and Motu Matu'u, and 14 points from Beauden Barrett saw them home.
A George Moala try and a penalty score had looked to tip the balance in favour of the Blues, but they struggled to live with the home side after the interval.
Chris Noakes and Barrett had swapped early penalties before a good spell of pressure from the Hurricanes resulted in Leiua bursting over.
Barrett added the extras and slotted over another penalty as the Hurricanes took control. They could have been further ahead only for the TMO to rule Leiua’s pass to Savea had been forward.
The Blues hit back on the half-hour when Patrick Tuipulotu peeled off the back of a rolling mail and popped the ball to Moala to score. Noakes converted to cut the deficit to 13-10.
The hosts, though, missed a regulation penalty chance while the TMO ruled that Coles had put his arm in touch first in the process of diving over following a superb offload from James Broadhurst.
It was turning in to a bad day for Coles as he was then yellow carded for not rolling away after tackling Benji Marshall just short of the line as the Blues looked to hit back on the stroke of half-time.
Despite the hooter having sounded, the Blues showed great adventure in opting for the scrum and they were rewarded with a penalty try. Marshall’s conversion gave them a 17-13 lead at the break.
The Hurricanes responded in impressive fashion as Savea crashed over from close range to move them back in front, with Barrett on target with the extras.
And they were over again shortly after following a rapier-like counterattack that Perenara finished off – with the TMO this time ruling the try was legal. Barrett’s conversion saw the Hurricanes lead 27-17.
Marshall slotted over a penalty to keep the Blues in touch however Smith sealed the bonus point for the Hurricanes – with the centre winning the race to Savea’s hack ahead. Barrett converted.
Matu'u then rubbed salt into the wounds as he crashed over for fifth try in the last minute.