Rugby: Blues run Hurricanes ragged

Blues 41
Hurricanes 17

Jared Payne of the Blues is congratulated after scoring a try. Photo / Getty Images
Jared Payne of the Blues is congratulated after scoring a try. Photo / Getty Images

Neither of the Hurricanes centurions, Ma'a Nonu and skipper Andrew Hore had much to celebrate tonight as their side went down 41-17 to the Blues at Auckland tonight.

Nonu, making his 100th appearance for the franchise looked more than a little rusty after a three-week standown for his reckless shoulder charge on Jimmy Cowan in the match against the Highlanders in the opening week of the competition.

Nonu's night started poorly when he conceded a penalty for offside that Luke McAlister gratefully accepted to open the scoring.

MATCH STATS

SUPER 15 STANDINGS

And just when the Hurricanes, down 10-6, were recovering their composure after a fast start by the Blues, Nonu was stripped off the ball in a promising attack by Blues centre Jared Payne.

The ball was moved to Rene Ranger and the Blues winger sped upfield before off loading to Stephen Brett for a simple try to put the Blues 17-6 ahead in the 20th minute.

Ranger had an outstanding first half with his runs punching holes in the Hurricanes defence early on.

And when lock Jason Eaton missed a midfield tackle on Blues fullback Isaia Toeava, the Hurricanes defence was wide open for Ranger to power over for the opening try of the match, converted by McAlister in the 10th minute.

The Hurricanes closed the gap when Nonu made amends with a midfield burst before he was brought down but from there, the Hurricanes broke the Blues defence with Nonu making the final pass for prop Neemia Tialata to score an unconverted try.

At the breather, the game was still in the balance with the Blues ahead 20-14.

The Hurricanes had the major share of possession at the start of the second half but despite good efforts by fullback Cory Jane, centre Conrad Smith and wing Julian Savea along with one or two big bursts from Nonu, the Blues defence could not be breached.

Kirkpatrick closed the gap to 20-17 with a fourth successful penalty but the game turned on its end when Hore, playing his 100th Super rugby match, was sin binned for a ruck violation.

And in the 10 minutes he was cooling his heels, the Blues ran their under-strength opposition ragged to score tries by Brett, halfback Alby Mathewson and Payne to seal a satisfying 41-17 win after their disappointing draw with Western Force last week.

BLUES 41 (Stephen Brett, Alby Mathewson, Lachie Munro, Jared Payne, Rene Ranger tries Munro 3, Luke McAlister 2 cons McAlister 2 pens) bt HURRICANES 17 (Neemia Tialata try Daniel Kirkpatrick 4 pens) at Eden Park. Referee: Vinny Munro.

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