TODAY |

Blues battle to victory over Hurricanes in scrappy Eden Park affair

Relive 1 NEWS' live updates of this evening's Super Rugby Aotearoa game between the Blues and the Hurricanes at Eden Park in Auckland.

FT: BLU 27-17 HUR

It was anyone's game at the half but as time ticked on in the second, the Blues pulled away. It was a strong finish from the home side and one they'll be proud of considering their struggles in putting the game away in recent weeks.

The Hurricanes could consider themselves unlucky to have two players binned in the first half when for the most part they were well on top. But they just never found their mojo again coming back out of the sheds and the game slowly drifted away, despite a late try by Prinsep closing the gap. They will remain bottom of the table with plenty more work to do to try and change that in the next few weeks.

That's all from us, enjoy the rest of your evening.

80min: BLU 27-17 HUR

The Blues win the penalty and that will be it. Black will take a shot at goal as the siren sounds. He nails it and the Canes lose the bonus point as well as the game!

79min: BLU 24-17 HUR

Akira Ioane uses his strength to hold up Leger in midfield, it's called a maul and the Blues win the scrum!

76min: BLU 24-17 HUR

HUR TRY! But the Hurricanes win the penalty from the resulting scrum! They kick for touch for the lineout. A couple of phases have them millimetres away from the line, before Prinsep busts through and over! Barrett shanks the conversion away terribly though so the gap remains seven with just three to play.

74min: BLU 24-12 HUR

The Hurricanes are pushing as hard as they can here to try and find a way back into it. But as they inch closer and closer towards the line Leger drops it just five metres from the line. Could that be it?

65min: BLU 24-12 HUR

BLU TRY! The Blues put together a nice set of phases before swinging it wide to Ioane, who steps through the defensive line and into open space inside the Hurricanes 22m! He passes wide to Telea who touches down with one hand in the corner. Black converts a tough kick and the lead is now 12.

60min: BLU 17-12 HUR

Julian Savea aka The Bus snatches the ball off the back of the ruck and explodes through into the open field! He bursts into the 22m before he is brought down. His brother arrives at the ruck but drops the ball as he picks it up!

58min: BLU 17-12 HUR

Both teams trade penalties in the midfield as we inch towards the final quarter of the game.

51min: BLU 17-12 HUR

BLU TRY! The Blues get the ball back off the restart and Perofeta beats his man as the Hurricanes try a rush defence, and he's through into towards the line! He plays a simple offload to Faiane on his left, who dives over the line and gives the Blues the lead. Black converts.

50min: BLU 10-12 HUR

The Blues are finally putting some phases together and push past the 22m towards the tryline. The Hurricanes are defending well, but Ruru grabs the ball off the back of the ruck and pushes to the line but it held up.

46min: BLU 10-12 HUR

HUR PEN! The Hurricanes win another penalty around the halfway line, and that's not an issue for Barrett as he points to the posts again. It's 55m out, it hangs in the air and it's over! Didn't even get it that well but it was enough. Hurricanes retake the lead.

43min: BLU 10-9 HUR

Tu'inukuafe has injured his knee and is limping off, replaced by Hodgman.

40min: BLU 10-9 HUR

The second half begins, Leger kicks off.

HT: BLU 10-9 HUR

If an alien fell from the sky and sat down to watch a game of rugby, you would hope it wasn't this one. It hasn't been pretty so far, a lot of mistakes from both sides forcing the referee to start an orchestra with his whistle. 

The Hurricanes were dealt not one, but two harsh yellow cards, but survived, and will return from the break with 15 players once more, down just one point. The visitors have looked the better side so far, and the Blues will be striving to finally have a decent stretch of attacking play if they are going to take the victory tonight.

We'll be back for the second half soon.

40min: BLU 10-9 HUR

HUR PEN! The Blues have it as the siren is about to sound, but Perofeta throws a wild pass that goes miles forward and straight into the hands of Rayasi! The Hurricanes look to push forward for a late reward and they win the penalty! Barrett bangs another one over and the lead is cut to one at the break.

39min: BLU 10-6 HUR

BLU PEN! The Blues earn a penalty right in front and Black knocks it over as the clock ticks down to halftime.

36min: BLU 7-6 HUR

HUR PEN! The Canes come back down the field and win another penalty, not before Dane Coles shows his fancy footwork on the right wing! Barrett kicks another penalty and the Hurricanes are now behind by just by one. Xavier Numia replaces Fraser Armstrong as well for tactical reasons.

30min: BLU 7-3 HUR

BLU PEN TRY! Kirifi is controversially penalised for hands in the ruck when it appeared he turned the ball over legally. Black kicks for touch right into the corner. The Blues win the lineout and drive the maul to the line. They fall short but the referee awards a penalty try for Savea bringing down the maul illegally. So the Blues take the lead and the Hurricanes skipper is in the bin! Pretty tough call there again against the Hurricanes.

27min: BLU 0-3 HUR

HUR PEN! Despite the man disadvantage, the Hurricanes pile on the pressure. Leger stabs through a kick into the in-goal and Black is forced to dive on it for a goal-line dropout. The Hurricanes get the ball back and win a penalty soon after. Barrett decides to have another go. This one a lot easier, around 35m out, and he knocks it over to give the visitors the lead.

20min: BLU 0-0 HUR

Ardie Savea wins the penalty against the play, and Barrett will try have a shot a goal from 52m out. He's got the distance but not the accuracy as it just drifts wide of the left post.

17min: BLU 0-0 HUR

HUR YEL! Rayasi breaks the line and offloads to Proctor as the Hurricanes move deep into the Blues 22m. The visitors look dangerous as they put together several phases but the Blues continue to hold them out. They win the advantage right in front, Barrett kicks for the corner but Black takes it, so back we go. Barrett decides to take the simple three - but wait the TMO is involved here for a suspected high tackle further back in the play. It's Kirifi who has taken Black out with a high clearout, and he's been carded! So the penalty is reversed and the Hurricanes are suddenly down to 14!

10min: BLU 0-0 HUR

The Blues have a scrum right in the danger zone as they look to open the scoring, but the Hurricanes win the penalty! Great effort from the visiting pack.

8min: BLU 0-0 HUR

Is this Super Rugby or a game of Rugby Challenge? The Blues, at the halfway line, shift the ball along the backline towards the right wing, where Telea tries to break the line. He is stopped but not before he offloads to Rieko Ioane, who in turn offloads to Papalii. The flanker finds himself in space on the wing before he himself offloads inside to Faiane, but the centre can't get his offload away and the Hurricanes scramble back.

3min: BLU 0-0 HUR

The Hurricanes get the first opportunity after a late tackle on Campbell allows Barrett to kick deep into the Blues' 22m. The visitors string plenty of phases together and go nowhere. The Blues eventually turn the ball over and advance back up towards the halfway line.

7.05pm: KICKOFF

The Blues kick off and we're away!

7pm: PRE GAME

Ofa Tu'ungafasi walks out onto the field with his children where he is welcomed by a haka from his old high school Māngere College. A nice touch to celebrate 101 games with the Blues.

6.30pm: PREVIEW

Blues Mark Telea jumps over Hurricanes Alex Fidow during the Super Rugby Aotearoa match between the Hurricanes and Blues at Sky Stadium in Wellington. Source: Photosport

The Blues will be looking to get their season back on track after a promising start was stifled by back-to-back losses in recent weeks.

Coach Leon MacDonald has made several changes after the disappointing loss to the Chiefs.

TJ Faiane gets his first start after an injury-delayed season, as does exciting young lock Sam Darry, who made his impressive Super Rugby debut against the Highlanders.

Darry comes in for captain Patrick Tuipulotu, who has not recovered from a shoulder injury received in last weekend’s match.

Loose forward Tom Robinson, who made a significant impact off the bench against the Chiefs, has earned his first start of the season at loose forward and will captain the side.

Sam Nock gets his opportunity to start at halfback for the second time this season with Jonathan Ruru expected to add real thrust again from the reserves.

The front row continues the inter-change of All Black props with Ofa Tuungafasi and Karl Tu’inukuafe both starting.

The potential new cap will come in the form of strong-running winger AJ Lam, rewarded after continuing to impress on the training field.

The Hurricanes welcome back Julian Savea to the starting XV, as one of three changes made by head coach Jason Holland.

Up front, Fraser Armstrong has been named to start at loosehead prop, while James Blackwell returns to the second row in place of Isaia Walker-Leawere, who moves to the bench alongside Wes Goosen and Xavier Numia after the trio started under the roof at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

Holland said the coaching staff were continuing their plan to rotate some players and give others an opportunity through the tough Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign.

With recent results condensing the competition ladder behind the leading Crusaders, Holland said there remained plenty of incentive for the squad.
 

TEAMS

Blues: 15 Stephen Perofeta, 14 Mark Telea, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 TJ Faiane, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Otere Black, 9 Sam Nock, 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Tom Robinson, 5 Sam Darry, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Ofa Tuungafasi, 2 Luteru Tolai, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe.

Reserves: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Josh Goodhue, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Jonathan Ruru, 22 Harry Plummer, 23 AJ Lam.

Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Billy Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Salesi Rayasi, 10 Orbyn Leger, 9 Luke Campbell, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Du'Plessis Kirifi, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Fraser Armstrong.

Reserves: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Xavier Numia, 18 Tevita Mafileo, 19 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 20 Devan Flanders, 21 Jonathan Taumateine, 22 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 23 Wes Goosen.