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Blues

FULL-TIME
19     23

Hurricanes

Super Rugby | Auckland
06:35 (GMT) | 11-03-2016
  • 85
Tough luck for the Blues, but what a cracking end to the game. Next one up is the Aussie derby between the Western Force and the Brumbies in Perth, about two and a half hours from now. Join us then, for some more oval ball action.
  • 84
And what was building up to be an edge-of-your-seat finish, comes to naught. Blues knock it on, and the Hurricanes get out of jail. Game over. Thanks for coming.
  • 82
Another penalty, and the ref is fed up. Yellow card to Victor Vito. West goes for the line-out again! Unbelievable. Surely a scrum is a better option at this point.
  • 81
The siren sounds and the Blues stage an all-out assault at their opposition's try line. The crowd is roaring, the ref is still playing advantage, and it becomes a full-blown penalty. Another attempt from the line-out. Will it be third time lucky for the Blues?
  • 78
The Blues' rolling maul stutters a bit and looks to be in danger of going nowhere, but the ref gives them the penalty advantage and after an unsuccessful dart at the try-line, they're brought back for the penalty. One last attempt from a line-out, rolling maul. Advantage played to the Blues.
  • 77
In the 77th minute, the Blues are awarded a penalty deep inside the Hurricanes' half... question is, can they capitalise from this line-out move, about 15 metres out from the Canes' try-line?
  • 74
The Blues snatch a line-out on the Hurricanes throw, and the crowd loves it! The home side pushes forward, but some sloppy passing stops the move.
  • 73
With a mere 4-point deficit and 7 minutes left in the game here, things are heating up. Blues need an unconverted try to clinch this, but their progress upfield is halted by some breakdown mastery by the Canes.
  • 72
After an industrious chain of phases by the Hurricanes, over a dozen at least, the ball is fumbled and Blues get the put-in at the scrum. Players are breathing hard now, and this is where conditioning and fitness plays an integral role.
  • 70
The Blues doing what they need to do here to chip away at that Hurricanes lead, but will it be enough with 10 minutes left in the game?
  • 69
An obstruction by the Hurricanes gifts the Blues a penalty, and from some distance out, West, whose kicking hasn't been the greatest so far, insists he takes a shot at goal... And it's over!
  • 66
From a successful scrum just inside the Hurricanes' half, the Blues edge their way forward inch by inch, and Kaino almost surges over the whitewash, but is stopped dead, and the play is brought back for an offside call. Penalty right in front of the posts for West, and he cuts into the deficit. 16-23. 14 minutes to play.
  • 60
60 minutes in and the subs come on off the bench for both sides. Hopefully the fresh legs can inject something into this contest for the Blues, who will be hoping to claw something back in the final quarter.
  • 58
Players flying off their feet at the breakdown gives the Blues some relief from a surging Hurricanes attack. They opt for the line-out, and from the move just inside their own half, Tevita Li scythes his way through the Hurricanes defence and crosses the whitewash, but the play is brought back for a forward pass and the home crowd is not happy at all.
  • 55
Barrett attempts the conversion from way out on the tram lines, but given the form of both kickers in this contest so far, it was never going over. Missed.
  • 54
TJ Perenara gets his second try of the match with a little dart through the Blues defence, to dot down in the corner. The Blues will have to take a serious look at their discipline.
  • 53
And it's yet ANOTHER penalty against the Blues, giving Barrett a shot at redemption. But the Canes opt for the line-out. Penalty count at this stage is 8-4 against the home side, and the ref asks for some discipline please.
  • 50
Barrett somehow misses that one, leaving the scores unchanged. Meanwhile, Milner-Skudder exits the pitch with what looks like a nasty injury to either his shoulder or arm.
  • 49
The Blues are pinged for slowing the ball down at the breakdown, and it gives the Canes another shot at goal from a very kickable position. These penalties are hurting the home side, they need to be more careful around those rucks.
  • 45
The Hurricanes are awarded a penalty just inside the Blues' half, and Barrett will get an opportunity to stretch his team's lead by three more points... It's good, straight through the middle! 13-18 to the Canes.
  • 44
Ihaia West gets the chance to add the extra points from an angle... and it's away from the uprights. Yet another miss from the Blues pivot.
  • 42
A high tackle gifts the Blues a penalty, and they opt for the line-out just outside the Hurricanes' 5 metre line... and after a few good phases, it's a try to George Moala!
  • 41
And the teams are back out on the park, ready and raring to go. Statistically, the Blues have dominated the attack, but they're left trailing the Hurricanes, which is sure to frustrate Blues coach Tana Umaga going into the second 40.

Half Time

  • 40
The half time hooter sounds, but the Blues are still looking to do something with their possession here... Rene Ranger darts, brought down. Blues edge closer and closer to the Hurricanes' try line, but the Canes defence holds firm and the ball is knocked on by the Blues. That's the first half.
  • 38
Blues looking to end the first half on a high note here, with attacking ball inside the Hurricanes' 22 from another successful scrum. They were looking threatening, until the Hurricanes turned over the ball at a ruck in rather unorthodox fashion.
  • 35
Charlie Faumuina penalised for being lazy and ending up on the Hurricanes' side of the ruck right in front of the uprights, and it's an easy one for Barrett to put over.
  • 32
Barrett makes a hash of that conversion attempt, with the ball once again hitting the uprights. For the first time in this game however, the Hurricanes take the lead and will be hoping to assert more control over their opponents with only 8 minutes left in the first half.
  • 30
And seemingly out of nowhere, the Hurricanes attack conjures up some magic that finishes off with a chip kick ahead, putting Perenara in for a skipper's try!
  • 29
Reggie Goodes makes his mark on the game with a vital turnover that stops a threatening Blues attack from going all the way once more.
  • 27
Beauden Barrett effortlessly adds the extras. Brings the scoreline to 8-7 and it's looking up for the Canes.
  • 26
And a well-controlled maul by the Hurricanes gets them their first try of the match by way of Victor Vito!
  • 25
TJ Perenara remonstrating with the ref, after a penalty is awarded against his side. It's reviewed by the TMO and Kaino is pinged for taking out a player in a blatant act of obstruction. Penalty turned over, goes to the Hurricanes, and Barrett puts it out into touch for a line-out.
  • 23
Ihaia West doesn't make good on the conversion. To be fair, it was from practically right out on the sideline.
  • 22
Possible try here for the Blues through Rene Ranger... and it's good! TMO agrees.
  • 20
A return punt from the Blues gives the Hurricanes the throw-in at the line-out, but the Canes fumble it and Blues have possession once more. West puts the ball up high for Ranger to chase, but there's some confusion in the midfield, and it results in an accidental offside call against the Blues. Scrum to the Hurricanes.
  • 17
Looks like the Hurricanes have finally woken from their slumber and they're rumbling the ball upfield, taking the fight to the Blues. Doing well to retain possession through the phases.
  • 15
Successful scrum on the halfway line for the Blues, and they're on the attack again. Showing great promise with some excellent front-foot ball, but the movement is ended by a fumble. Knock-on, scrum to Hurricanes inside their own half, just outside the 22 metre line. Hurricanes get the short-arm penalty, courtesy of Faumuina.
  • 12
Still 0-0 and Ihaia West gets his third opportunity, closer to the uprights, to take a shot at goal. Shouldn't be more than a mere formality for him... Finally over, and it brings the scoreline to 3-0.
  • 9
Penalty to the Blues within range for Ihaia West, and he gets another chance to put the first points of the game on the board... And it hits the upright!
  • 7
Perenara is put under a bit of pressure at the back of that scrum by his opposite number, but he recovers and the ball is worked to Barrett, who clears it to touch.
  • 6
The ball is back in the possession of the Blues and they barge their way upfield, but Victor Vito holds a Blues player up and forces the turnover, stopping their momentum. Scrum, with a Hurricanes put-in - first one of the game.
  • 4
Four minutes in and Ihaia West gets his first chance to put some points on the board for the Blues through a penalty... and it drifts away to the right side of the uprights.
  • 0
Here. We. Go! The game is underway with the Blues receiving the kick-off, and instantly forming a rolling maul to protect the ball. They punt it away, and Julian Savea easily catches it for his first touch of the game. End result is a line-out to the Blues.
  • -5
The Hurricanes' South African-born loosehead prop, Reggie Goodes, will be looking to make an impact in this game, his 50th Super Rugby match. His side's forward pack really needs to front up if they're to put up any worthwhile challenge.
  • -15
Kick-off looms between these two exciting New Zealand sides, and the weather is fine. Looks like it's 21 degrees out there, with more than a little humidity to deal with. Skies looking a bit oppressive.
  • -30
Welcome to live coverage of this Super Rugby match between the Blues and Hurricanes at Eden Park!
Mc blues logo 80x50
Blues
Mc hurricanes logo 80x50
Hurricanes
START LINE UP
  • 15 Lolagi Visinia
  • 14 Rene Ranger
  • 13 Male Sa'u
  • 12 George Moala
  • 11 Tevita Li
  • 10 Ihaia West
  • 9 Bryn Hall
  • 8 Akira Ioane
  • 7 Blake Gibson
  • 6 Jerome Kaino
  • 5 Josh Bekhuis
  • 4 Steven Luatua
  • 3 Charlie Faumuina
  • 2 James Parsons
  • 1 Ofa Tu'ungafasi
RESERVES
  • 23 Melani Nanai Vai
  • 22 Matt McGahan
  • 21 Sam Nock
  • 20 Kara Pryor
  • 19 Patrick Tuipulotu
  • 18 Sione Mafileo
  • 17 Nic Mayhew
  • 16 Quentin MacDonald
START LINE UP
  • 15 James Marshall
  • 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder
  • 13 Vince Tavae –Aso
  • 12 Ngani Laumape
  • 11 Julian Savea
  • 10 Beauden Barrett
  • 9 TJ Perenara
  • 8 Victor Vito
  • 7 Ardie Savea
  • 6 Brad Shields
  • 5 Mark Abbott
  • 4 Blade Thomson
  • 3 Jeff Allen
  • 2 Leni Apisal
  • 1 Reg Goodes
RESERVES
  • 23 Cory Jane
  • 22 Willis Halaholo
  • 21 Jamison Gibson-Park
  • 20 Callum Gibbins
  • 19 Vaea Fifita
  • 18 Loni Uhila
  • 17 Chris Eves
  • 16 Ricky Riccitelli
Mc article jerome kaino blues2 800

S18 PREVIEW: ROUND THREE, PART ONE

Wed, 09 Mar 2016 22:31

IN THE SPOTLIGHT. Jan de Koning looks at the Friday matches in Part One of Super Rugby's Round Three.

Will the Hurricanes end their losing streak?

After finishing top of the standings last year, the men from Wellington lost to the Highlanders in the Final and have lost both their matches his season.

They came close to edging the Highlanders in a replay of the Final last week, but something still seems amiss.

And there is another unwanted omen in that the Blues - who themselves are looking to bounce back from a disappointing performance last week - streaked away with six tries to smash the Canes 40-12 in their pre-season match.

The second match on Friday has the table-topping Brumbies against the Western Force, an all Australian derby that could be a one-sided affair.

The Force beat the Reds last week in a dour derby, a result which cost Reds coach Richard Graham his job.

You get the sense the Force's win - a resulted bloated by a late try against a very desponded opposition - had more to do with how bad the Reds were than anything constructive by the Force.

And the Brumbies would certainly fancy their chances in this game.

We look at the Friday, March 11, matches below!


(Eden Park, Auckland - Kick-off: 19.35; 06.35 GMT)

Blues coach Tana Umaga has reacted in the most dramatic fashion to his team's loss last week, as he wrung the changes.

However, it is Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd who is feeling the pressure.

Playing in the competitive New Zealand conference - unlike the Aussie group where only two teams seem to be genuine contenders - the Hurricanes have no place to hide.

"None [wins] from three [starts] is not terminal, but you start putting yourself in a tough position," Boyd told NZ Newswire.

And the Blues are not far from being in the same boat.

And opening round win over the Highlanders was followed by last week's disappointing showing against the Crusaders.

It is up front where Umaga is looking for an improved performance from his pack.

"At stages we will be put under pressure and it's how we deal with the pressure on the field," Umaga told the NZ Herald.

"It's great to be able to look at that after the game, but it's about how we make the shifts on the field [which is important].

"We've been working hard at that."

There is additional motivation for the Hurricanes - with their South African import, prop Reggie Goodes, set to play in his 50th Super Rugby match.

However, they have been off the pace and need to get in a position where they command the respect of the opposition.

"We talked about it last year and also this year," Goodes told the Dominion Post, adding: "Consistency is key for us and every game we need to perform at our peak as a pack and work as an eight.

"We're striving for that this year; the first game it wasn't quite there but it's on the right path," said Goodes.

Recent results:
2015: Hurricanes won 29-5, Auckland
2015: Hurricanes won 30-23, Palmerston North
2014: Blues won 37-24, Auckland
2014: Hurricanes won 39-20, Wellington
2013: Blues won 28-6, Auckland
2013: Blues won 34-20, Wellington

Prediction: The spoils are spilt at five wins apiece in the last 10 clashes between these teams, though the Hurricanes have found victory in their last two. The Hurricanes have stolen victory in five of their last nine visits to the Blues' home territory. Despite scoring 33 points in their Round One win against the Highlanders the Blues still average just 14 points scored across their last four games at home. Since the Blues' last win over the Hurricanes (Round 16, 2014) they've won only one of their 12 matches against New Zealand opponents. The Hurricanes are enduring their longest losing streak (three games) since they were defeated eight times in a row across the 2013 and 2014 seasons. The Blues, in both pre-season and in the opening round, showed glimpses of Tana Umaga turning the team around. They are the most likely to bounce back, but the winning margin will be in single digits.

Teams:

Blues: 15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Rene Ranger, 13 Male Sa'u, 12 George Moala, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Jerome Kaino (captain), 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Steven Luatua, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons, 1 Ofa Tu'ungafasi.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Nic Mayhew, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Kara Pryor, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Matt McGahan, 23 Melani Nanai.

Hurricanes: 15 James Marshall, 14 TBC, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Mark Abbott, 4 Blade Thomson, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles/Leni Apisai, 1 Reggie Goodes.
Replacements: 16 Apisai/Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Loni Uhila, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Willis Halaholo, 23 TBC.

Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand), Brett Johnson (New Zealand)
TMO: Shane McDermott (New Zealand)

(nib (Stadium, Perth - Kick-off: 19.05 AWST; 22.05 AEDT; 11.05 GMT)

The Brumbies head to Perth this week for the start of a three-week road trip - which will also see them play the Stormers in Cape Town and the Cheetahs Bloemfontein.

Brumbies utility Nigel Ah Wong warned of the threat posed by a Western Force side that is coming off a confidence-boosting win against the Reds.

"We're expecting a tough challenge," Ah Wong said in an interview on the Brumbies' website.

"They're going to be tough at home.

"Obviously they've got a new game plan as well this season and we're going to do our best to defend that and hopefully get the win."

Force coach Michael Foley said his side is looking to carry the momentum from last weekend into Friday's showdown with the team from the nation's capital.

"We were pleased with the result last weekend," Foley said.

"And we're looking to continue to improve the speed of our game.

"Irrespective of our travel schedule, skill work remains a priority.

We believe this will ultimately lead to us converting more of the opportunities we're creating."

Recent results:
2015: Brumbies won 33-20, Perth
2015: Brumbies won 27-15, Canberra
2014: Brumbies won 47-25, Canberra
2014: Brumbies won 47-14, Perth
2013: Force won 21-15, Perth
2013: Brumbies won 41-7, Canberra

Prediction: The Brumbies have won seven of their last eight matches against the Force - including a current winning streak of four matches, the longest in the history of this fixture. The Brumbies have conceded just 20 first half points in their last four matches against the Force, scoring 85 themselves in this run. The Force have won two of their last three matches and will now be hunting for consecutive wins for the first time since Round 13, 2014. After the opening two rounds the Western Force are one of only two teams (Stormers) yet to miss a place kick at goal (both 11 from 11). Brumbies flanker Scott Fardy has won five turnovers so far this season, the equal second most of any player and the most of any player who is yet to concede a turnover. It is tough to see the Force beating the Brumbies, who we feel will win by 20 points or more.

Teams:

Western Force: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Solomoni Rasolea, 11 Semisi Masirewa, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ian Prior, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Matt Hodgson (captain), 6 Brynard Stander, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Ross Haylett-Petty, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Heath Tessmann, 1 Pekahou Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Charles, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Guy Millar, 19 Sitiveni Mafi, 20 Angus Cottrell, 21 Alby Mathewson, 22 Peter Grant, 23 Marcel Brache.

Brumbies: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Christian Lealiifano (co-captain), 9 Tomás Cubelli, 8 Jarrad Butler, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore (co-captain), 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Joss Mann-Rea, 17 Allan Alaalatoa, 18 Leslie Leulua'iali'i-Makin, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Jordan Smiler, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Andrew Smith, 23 Nigel Ah Wong.

Referee: Andrew Lees (Australia)
Assistant referees: Damien Mitchelmore (Australia), Michael Hogan (Australia)
TMO: Ian Smith (Australia)

Compiled by Jan de Koning
@King365ed
@rugby365com

* Statistical information provided by Opta Sports

Mc article tj perenara hurricanes try 800

Hurricanes break their Super duck

Fri, 11 Mar 2016 09:05

REPORT: The Hurricanes recorded their first win of the Super Rugby season when they edged the Blues 23-19 in a nailbiter in Auckland on Friday.

Despite the Blues dominating the first quarter and taking an 8-0 lead, the Hurricanes scored 15 unanswered points in a 10-minute blitz - to take a 15-8 lead into the half-time break.

Try as they might the Blues just could not get back into the lead, with their own poor discipline and the Hurricanes determined defence keeping them out.

They did get back in the game and created a chance for a late winner, but they just could not crack the Hurricanes' defensive line.

Last year's beaten finalists, reeling after defeats in the opening two rounds, had to muster all their defensive prowess as the Blues laid siege to their line in the final 15 minutes of the game at Eden Park.

They outscored the Blues three tries to two, including a brace for stand-in captain TJ Perenara, but were lucky to escape with their first win of the season.

"For the guys to defend like that shows they really wanted it," flank Ardie Savea said.

"But we let them into the game, we can't do that."

Savea said the Hurricanes, who were the competition's runaway leaders last year before losing to the Highlanders in the final, "still have a lot to work on" to reclaim their 2015 form.

The Tana Umaga-coached Blues applied early pressure, only for Ihaia West to miss two penalties before finding his range and nailing a third.

Rene Ranger gave them the opening try in the 22nd minute, scooping up the ball on the right wing then leaping over a flailing Julian Savea to plant it in the corner.

The Hurricanes responded immediately when Victor Vito darted over the line from the back of a driving maul.

Perenara then gave Wellington a 15-8 half-time lead when he gathered Nehe Milner-Skudder's perfectly weighted chip kick and left three defenders in his wake.

Moala narrowed it to 15-13 two minutes after the restart thanks to some solid line-out work from the Blues.

The Hurricanes then worked the ball forward and Perenara crossed for his second, despite protests from the Eden park crowd that Julian Savea knocked on in the build up.

Tevita Li looked to spark a Blues revival with a scything run through the Hurricanes defence, but his outstanding effort was disallowed after replays showed it came off a forward pass.

West made it 19-23 with two penalties and the Blues pressed for a try, launching a series of line-outs only to be denied by dogged defending.

Man of the match: Charlie Faumuina, by some distance, was the most productive of the Blues' players. Beauden Barrett gave the visitors the direction they needed at a crucial stage, while loose forward Victor Vito, Ardie Savea and Brad Shields also put their bodies on the line. However, the spark that got the Hurricanes on the front foot was scrumhalf TJ Perenara - the winner of our award.

The scorers:

For the Blues:
Tries:
Ranger, Moala
Pens: West 3

For the Hurricanes:
Tries:
Vito, Perenara 2
Con: Barrett
Pens: Barrett 3

Yellow card: Victor Vito (Hurricanes, 82 - repeated infringements, collapsing maul)

Teams:

Blues: 15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Rene Ranger, 13 Male Sa'u, 12 George Moala, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Jerome Kaino (captain), 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Steven Luatua, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons, 1 Ofa Tu'ungafasi.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Nic Mayhew, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Kara Pryor, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Matt McGahan, 23 Melani Nanai.

Hurricanes: 15 James Marshall, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Mark Abbott, 4 Blade Thomson, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Leni Apisai, 1 Reggie Goodes.
Replacements: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Loni Uhila, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Willis Halaholo, 23 Cory Jane.

Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand), Brett Johnson (New Zealand)
TMO: Shane McDermott (New Zealand)

@rugby365com & AFP

Rene Ranger (22min) and George Moala (42min)
TRIES
Victor Vito (26min), TJ Perenara (30min), and TJ Perenara (54min)
 
CONVERSIONS
Beauden Barrett (27min)
Ihaia West (12min), Ihaia West (66min), and Ihaia West (69min)
PENALTIES
Beauden Barrett (35min) and Beauden Barrett (45min)
 
PENALTY TRIES
 
DROP GOALS
 
Victor Vito (82min)
 
 
VENUE Auckland
REFEREE Nick Briant