Daniel Richardson

Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service.

Rugby: Hurricanes blow away Blues

TJ Perenara scores for the Hurricanes in their Super Rugby win over the Blues. Photo / Getty Images
TJ Perenara scores for the Hurricanes in their Super Rugby win over the Blues. Photo / Getty Images

Hurricanes 39 Blues 20
Winning on the road continues to be a problem for the Blues.

Sir John Kirwan's side haven't tasted success away from the comforts of home in 12 matches as the Hurricanes put the Blues' road losing streak out to an even dozen at Westpac Stadium tonight.

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There were no shortage of talking points from the 39-20 defeat, which saw the Hurricanes pick up their third-straight victory with controversial officiating, some blockbusting play and an injury to Blues first-five Chris Noakes sticking out.

Watch: Rugby: Blues 'under pressure'

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The Hurricanes were denied two tries in the opening spell but were given one back in the second 40 minutes when a Cory Jane forward pass went undetected by TMO Chris Wratt.

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On the stroke of halftime, referee Nick Briant also found enough fault in a Hurricanes' scrum to award the Blues a penalty try, which added to a head-scratching contest.

The blockbusting play was provided largely by the Hurricanes, who seemed keen to run the ball from all corners and when you have Julian Savea on your team why wouldn't you?

The hulking All Black wing has been a menace during the 2014 Super Rugby season and was elusive throughout the contest.

Then there was Noakes. He is part of the first-five rotation at the Blues, where Kirwan can't decide on his first-choice pivot.

After a spell of club rugby and development team work, Noakes was given the start ahead of Simon Hickey in the capital but left the field late in the first half after he copped a hefty hit from opposite number Beauden Barrett.

The departure of Noakes saw the struggling Benji Marshall get an opportunity to run the cutter but as his education in rugby union continues to move along at a slow pace he failed to set the game alight.

Despite the Hurricanes' early dominance, the Blues took a 17-13 lead to the break courtesy of their fortuitous penalty try, which came after Dane Coles had been sin-binned for giving away a cynical penalty.

The Hurricanes began the second spell a man down but that didn't bother the home side as Savea took a slick inside ball to bounce over the line as Mark Hammett's side retained the lead.

Coles then returned to the fray and the Hurricanes grew in confidence, while the Blues remained patchy as ball security was a major issue.

Later efforts to TJ Perenara - helped by the forward pass from Jane - and Conrad Smith saw the Hurricanes grab a vital bonus point, which could prove useful considering the congested nature of the points table.

For the Blues it was another frustrating outing as they failed to gain any real traction in the contest.

Noakes looked promising during the first 30 minutes as he took the ball to the line on attack but after he left the visitors were unable to work their exciting backline in to the game.

Jerome Kaino provided a couple of damaging hits from the back of the scrum but the loss left the Blues dead last in the New Zealand conference and 11th on the ladder, although that may change during the weekend.

Hurricanes 39 (Alapati Leiua, Julian Savea, TJ Perenara, Conrad Smith, Motu Matu'u tries; Beauden Barrett 2 pen, 4 con) Blues 20 (Penalty try, George Moala try; Chris Noakes pen, con Benji Marshall pen, con) 13-17

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