The Blues’ poor away form continued as they suffered a 39-20 defeat to the Hurricanes at Westpac Stadium on Friday night.
Leading 17-13 at the break, the Blues faded in the second stanza as the Hurricanes completely overran the visitors, scoring four tries as they moved to second on the New Zealand conference ladder.
The Blues’ loss, their 12th successive defeat away from home, leaves them at the bottom of the New Zealand conference and makes next week’s match against the Waratahs crucial to their playoff hopes.
In the wet and windy capital, Beauden Barrett and Chris Noakes traded penalties before Hurricanes midfielder Alapati Leiua, who was a standout for the Hurricanes, crossed for a soft try after 15 minutes.
Leiua then looked to set up his barnstorming winger Julian Savea for a try, however the TMO rightly adjudged the final pass to have gone forward as the Blues breathed a collective sigh of relief.
George Moala scored his fifth try of the season, collecting a lovely offload from lock Patrick Tuipulotu after a well worked rolling maul to go over in the corner.
A fantastic sideline conversion from Noakes narrowed the deficit to 10-13 before the first-five, who guided the team around the field well in the first half, was forced from the field with concussion, paving the way for Benji Marshall to replace him at 10.
The star league recruit almost scored a superb try before being dragged down inches short of the line, however the Hurricanes were penalised and hooker Dane Coles was sent to the sin bin for foul play.
From the resulting penalty captain Luke Braid called for a scrum five metres out, and with the Hurricanes a man short in the forward pack, the Blues turned up the heat and earned themselves a penalty try to go into the sheds at halftime 17-13 ahead.
However it was all one way traffic in the second half as the Hurricanes put the Blues to the sword.
Savea barged his way over for a try just eight minutes into the second spell before Alapati Leiua made a scintillating break, charging downfield and sending Jane away down the sideline. †
The All Black winger then flew a wild pass in-field but the Hurricanes managed to regather it as TJ Perenara dived over for the try.
Captain Conrad Smith scored the side’s fourth bonus point try before bullocking prop Motu Matu’u put the final nail in the coffin with a try as the fulltime siren sounded to give his side a convincing 39-20 victory.