An improved second half propelled the Blues under-20 rugby side to a 24-22 win over their Hurricanes counterparts in today's McLean Park curtain raiser.
Unlike the first half, the Blues forwards enjoyed long periods of dominance in the second half and were able to play at the right end of the field when the Canes forwards conceded numerous penalties.
The Hurricanes dominated possession and territory in the first half and deserved their 15-12 lead at the interval. Winger Ethan Webster-Nonu, a son of former All Blacks midfielder Ma'a Nonu, scored the hosts' first try.
Wellington-based former Napier Boys' High School hooker Tyrone Thompson scored their second while lock Liam Mitchell and captain and openside flanker Josh Southall had huge workrates in the Canes pack.
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The visitors' first half tries were scored by halfback Taufa Funaki and centre Joel Cobb. Former Napier Boys' High School first five-eighth Zarn Sullivan converted Cobb's try.
Blues substitute prop Sione Ahio gave the visitors the lead for the first time with a try in the 42nd minute. A penalty try in the 52nd minute had the Blues ahead 24-15.
The Canes had to score next and they did with Thompson scoring his second try which was converted by Manawatu-based first five-eighth and Taradale age group product Stu Cruden.
Magpies second five-eighth Danny Toala, who along with Mitchell were the over age wild cards in the host side, was always powerful on the carry. Like Cruden, Hawke's Bay utility back Latrell Ah Kiong, was introduced in the 57th minute but the fullback received few attacking opportunities.
Hooker Ben Strang, the 2019 New Zealand Schools hooker who will play his club rugby for Central this season, was also a second half substitute for the Canes.
Hurricanes 22 ( Ethan Webster-Nonu, Tyrone Thompson 2 tries; Aidan Morgan pen, con; Stu Cruden con ), Blues 24 (Taufa Funaki, Joel Cobb, Sione Ahio, penalty try tries; Zarn Sullivan con). HT: 15-12.