The Hurricanes’ dominance over the Blues continued as they beat their Kiwi counterparts 22-12 in Friday's New Zealand derby at Eden Park.
The win is the Hurricanes’ eighth successive one over the Blues, and their fifth in a row in Auckland. Ben Lam, Jordie Barrett and Beauden Barrett scored the Canes’ tries while Beauden Barrett also added two conversions and Jordie Barrett added a penalty.
For the Blues, Sam Nock and Dalton Papalii crossed the whitewash and Harry Plummer slotted a conversion.
Like several of their previous matches this year, the Blues were their own worst enemies, committing a plethora of unforced errors to lead to their undoing.
The result means the Hurricanes consolidate second position in the New Zealand Conference and they are now just two points adrift of the Crusaders, although that situation could change if the champions beat the Bulls later on Friday.
Meanwhile, the Blues are still in fourth place in their conference but could drop to the bottom position if the Chiefs beat the Sharks in Hamilton on Saturday.
The Blues were the dominant side early on and opened the scoring in the 10th minute courtesy of a Sam Ruru try after a barnstorming run from Patrick Tuipulotu in the build-up.
The home side continued to dominate but despite having the bulk of the possession and spending long periods inside the Hurricanes’ half, they could not extend their lead.
That proved costly as Ngani Laumape won a turnover just inside Blues territory in the 23rd minute before offloading to Lam, who beat three defenders before crossing for the Hurricanes’ opening try.
That try boosted the visitors’ confidence and they extended their lead in the 32nd minute courtesy of Jordie Barrett’s converted try which gave them a 14-12 lead at the interval.
Just like the first half, the Blues held the upper-hand during the early stages of the second half and after Jeff Toomaga-Allen was sent to the sin bin in the 53rd minute, the hosts made their numerical advantage count when Dalton Papalii crossed for their second try on the hour-mark.
Otere Black failed with the conversion attempt and that proved costly as the Hurricanes extended their lead in the 67th minute when Beauden Barrett intercepted a pass from Augustine Pulu close to the halfway line before racing away to score his side’s third five-pointer.
Although the Blues launched a fightback in the game’s closing stages, they would not add to their points tally and the Hurricanes sealed their win with Jordie Barrett’s penalty in the closing stages.
Blues – Tries: Sam Nock, Dalton Papalii. Conversions: Harry Plummer.
Hurricanes – Tries: Ben Lam, Jordie Barrett, Beauden Barrett. Conversions: Beauden Barrett (2). Penalties: Jordie Barrett. Yellow Cards: Jeff To’omaga-Allen.
Blues: 15 Melani Nanai, 14 Tanielu Tele’a, 13 Thomas Faiane, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Harry Plummer, 9 Sam Nock, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson (captain), 6 Dalton Papalii, 5 Josh Goodhue, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 2 James Parsons, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe.
Replacements: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Ezekiel Lindenmuth, 18 Marcel Renata, 19 Scott Scrafton, 20 Jed Brown, 21 Augustine Pulu, 22 Otere Black, 23 Matt Duffie.
Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Thomas Perenara (captain), 8 Reed Prinsep, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 2 Asafo Aumua, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Fraser Armstrong, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Kane Le’aupepe, 20 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 James Marshall, 23 Chase Tiatia.
Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Paul Williams (New Zealand), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)