The Blues got their Super Rugby season off to a bonus point winning start.
The Blues beat the Hurricanes 34 – 20 in Wellington after trailing 11 – 13 at half time.
After a slow start to the game, the Blues were first to score a try, through Frank Halai, who turned villain later in the match, before scoring what has to be the match altering try late in the match.
The Hurricanes replied through Julian Savea and a few penalties from Barrett to have a slight lead at half time.
The second half started much the same as the first – slow and steady as the teams got to grips with playing full impact rugby. Savea was in on the action again, chasing a kick ahead which nearly resulted in a try. Upon consulting the TMO though, a penalty try was awarded and Halai given a yellow card for interfering and intentionally forcing the ball dead – an incorrect call in my opinion, based on the video evidence.
This only pushed the Blues to attack more, going on to score four tries, first through fullback Piutau, then Ranger with a brilliant individual effort and then Halai from a turnover, practically killing the match and giving Blues coach John Kirwan a winning start to his career at the Blues.
Kirwan will be happy with his senior players standing up in this match, Weepu clearly a different player and the likes of Ali Williams and Rene Ranger proving the difference.
This match was not quite as entertaining as the New Zealand derby we witnessed yesterday, but was still a pleasure to watch and more entertaining than either of the other two matches yesterday. The New Zealand teams seem to be on a different level altogether, and look set to dominate Super Rugby 2013.
By Richard Ferguson