Blues close to stealing win

Blues close to stealing win

The Blues camped inside the opposition 5m mark for the final few minutes, but came up agonisingly short, to lose 23-19 to the Hurricanes at Eden Park.

A crowd of over 20,000 watched as a courageous Hurricanes held on, after conceding three penalties virtually on their goal-line, after the final whistle had sounded.

Despite down to 14 men, they withstood the onslaught from the home side who were sniffing a come-from-behind victory.

The Blues had most of the possession and territory, but could not convert into points – giving away a high number of penalties in the first 60 minutes before finding plenty of courage of their own to fight back into the match and come within a few centimetres of the win.

An early penalty and a spectacular try in the corner from Rene Ranger gave the Blues the lead, which was countered by two quick tries to Victor Vito and TJ Perenara, as the Hurricanes led 15-8 at the break.

A strong drive from George Moala brought the home side back within two points, but they were heavily penalised and gave a contentious try to Perenara as the visitors gained a 10-point lead.

The Blues powered back with the introduction of Patrick Tuipulotu and boot of Ihaia West to close within four points, after a spectacular try by Tevita Li was disallowed.

Three successive lineout penalties inside the Hurricanes 5m brought the Blues within a gasp of the win, but they were held up by some stout defence led by a superb display from Ardie Savea.

Blues coach Tana Umaga was pleased with much of his side’s play.

“Obviously we didn’t get the result but I am proud of the effort. That is what we were looking for. We can work a bit smarter and a little bit better, but I can’t fault the effort and the resolve.

“They are hurting and we will now need to get them up for a tough game away against the Reds next week.

“We gave away eight of nine penalties in the third quarter which is something we must look at ourselves first and foremost. We didn’t help ourselves and didn’t adapt to the referee.”

Standouts included All Black prop Charlie Faumuina who was outstanding in his first start this season, as was his front row teammates James Parsons and Ofa Tu-ungafasi, while Tevita Li ran with real purpose.