Blues smash Hurricanes at Eden Park
Reuters
April 13, 2013

The Blues turned in a powerhouse performance to humble the Hurricanes 28-6 in their Vodacom Super Rugby match at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday.

The Blues were well served by their forwards, with blindside flanker Steven Luatua in inspirational form, sealing a bonus point with their fourth try with 20 minutes to spare and keeping their opponents try-less.

The Hurricanes, beaten at home 34-20 in the teams' first encounter of the season, were dominated on all fronts and kept scoreless for the entire second half, denied repeatedly by desperate Blues defence on the last line.

The Blues' emphatic win kept them in touch with the New Zealand conference-leading Chiefs, who were upset by the Reds in Hamilton, as the season nears the halfway mark.

Winger Frank Halai put the Blues on the board in the 13th minute, cantering under the posts after some sharp work upfield from scrumhalf Piri Weepu, fullback Charles Piutau and flyhalf Chris Noakes.

Noakes converted and the Blues kept the Hurricanes scoreless for nearly half an hour until Samoan international flyhalf Tusi Pisi marked his first start for the Super Rugby side with a poised drop goal against the run of play.

[embed:video:id=230284] Beauden Barrett, shifted from flyhalf to fullback, brought the Hurricanes back within a point with a penalty but the Blues ramped up the pressure towards the end of the half.

Flanker Luatua barged through four tackles and charged for the line but was held up by Hurricanes scrumhalf TJ Perenara.

It was a brief reprieve, however, as fullback Charles Piutau swooped to plant the ball over the line on the stroke of halftime after receiving from the five-metre scrum.

Hooker James Parsons added to the Hurricanes' pain by thundering over near the left corner a few minutes after the break after taking a perfectly-weighted inside pass from Noakes to pad the score to 19-6.

Piutau squandered a gilt-edged chance for a second try in the 57th minute when he fumbled a dribbled ball when diving over the line but prop Tom McCartney made up for it with the Blues' fourth a few minutes later, burrowing under the Wellington defence for a try under the posts.

The Blues defended stoutly for the remaining 20 minutes, with Luatua capping a barnstorming game by holding up replacement back Reynold Lee-lo to keep the Hurricanes scoreless and improve his chances of All Blacks selection.

SCORERS

Blues – Try: Frank Halai, Charles Piutau, James Parsons, Tom McCartney . Conversions: Chris Noakes (4).
Hurricanes– Penalty: Beauden Barrett. Drop goal: Tusi Pisi