May 27, 2023
Winger Mark Telea scored four tries for the Blues who beat the Wellington-based Hurricanes 36-25 to stiffen their challenge for a Super Rugby Pacific top-four place.
Telea scored twice in the first half, then twice in the last 15 minutes as the Blues struggled to hold out the resurgent Hurricanes.
The Blues dominated possession in the first 30 minutes but the Hurricanes came back into the match on either side of halftime.
Winger Kini Naholo scored two tries as the Hurricanes twice drew within six points of the Blues in the dying minutes.
But centre Rieko Ioane scored a vital try in the 74th minute and Telea skidded over for his fourth near fulltime to save the match.
After a standout performance against the Queensland Reds last week, Telea made a compelling statement in the battle to retain his All Blacks' right winger jumper.
The Blues went into the contest in fourth place, one spot ahead of the Hurricanes on the Super Rugby table and the win takes them a long way towards hosting a quarter-final.
BLUES: 36 (TRIES: Telea, Ioane, Sotutu CONS: Perofeta, Plummer)
HURRICANES: 25 (Naholo, Roigard, Proctor CONS: Barrett)
BLUES (1-15): Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Ricky Riccitelli, Nepo Laulala, Patrick Tuipulotu, Cameron Suafoa, Akira Ioane, Adrian Choat, Hoskins Sotutu, Finlay Christie, Harry Plummer, Caleb Clarke, Bryce Heem, Rieko Ioane, Mark Telea, Zarn Sullivan
RESERVES: Kurt Eklund, Jordan Lay, Marcel Renata, James Tucker, Anton Segner, Sam Nock, Stephen Perofeta, AJ Lam
HURRICANES (1-15): Xavier Numia, Asafo Aumua, Tyrel Lomax, James Blackwell, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Caleb Delany, Du'Plessis Kirifi, Ardie Savea, Cam Roigard, Aidan Morgan, Kini Naholo, Jordie Barrett, Billy Proctor, Julian Savea, Joshua Moorby
RESERVES: Hame Faiva, Tevita Mafileo, Owen Franks, Justin Sangster, Brayden Iose, Jamie Booth, Brett Cameron, Salesi Rayasi
REFEREE: Angus Gardner