Match Centre: Hurricanes 16-31 Blues

Otere Black kicked 11 points for Blues
Otere Black kicked 11 points for Blues
©Steve Haag

Hurricanes 16-31 Blues, Sky Stadium

Blues made a winning start to the Super Rugby Aotearoa 2021 season as they defeated Hurricanes 31-16 in their encounter at Sky Stadium on Saturday.

The opening points of the game came in just three minutes when an erratic pass from Hurricanes that was seized by Dalton Papali'i, who went over the line and Otere Black immediately kicked the conversion to make it 0-7.

The response from the home side came in the 6th minute when Ngani Laumape offloaded to Asafo Aumua as he touched down which went his way despite a TMO consultation. The conversion though went wide.

Hurricanes went into the break with a player short after James Blackwell was sin-binned by referee Paul Williams for an offside infringement but the Blues did not make use of the numerical advantage and instead Jordie Barrett kicked back to back penalties to take the scoreline to 11-7 at the end of the opening half.

The Blues were the quickest to get off the block in the second half when Akira Ioane brushed aside a tackle from Ardie Savea before offloading to Papali'i resulting in a ruck when Otere Black sent a crossfield kick to send Caleb Clarke over the line in the 49th minute.

Moments later Hurricanes lost Du'Plessis Kirifi to sin-bin for a cynical foul and immediately Stephen Perofeta dotted down to make the scoreline 11-21. Even though Aumua with his second provided some hope for the Canes, Reiko Ioane's try with conversion and a penalty from Black on either side ensured Blues completed a 15-point victory.

Team line-up:

Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Billy Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 9 Jonathan Taumateine, 8 Devan Flanders, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Asafo Aumua, 1 Fraser Armstrong.

Reserves: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Xavier Numia, 18 Alex Fidow, 19 Reed Prinsep, 20 Du'Plessis Kirifi, 21 Luke Campbell, 22 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 23 Salesi Rayasi.

Blues: 15 Stephen Perofeta, 14 Mark Telea, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Harry Plummer, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Otere Black, 9 Sam Nock; 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Kurt Eklund, 1 James Lay.

Reserves: 16 Luteru Tolai, 17 Karl Tu'inukuafe, 18 Ofa Tuungafasi, 19 Josh Goodhue, 20 Tom Robinson, 21 Adrian Choat, 22 Jonathan Ruru, 23 Tanielu Tele'a.

Super Rugby Points Table