There have been some defeats this season which have been difficult to swallow for various reasons for the Blues but this one to the Hurricanes in Wellington tonight will be among the worst.

Just how the Blues could lose after being 24-5 up at halftime and completely dominant will be one of the thistles grasped during the franchise's review which will start over the next few days, but for an early pointer look for the visitors' rank ill-discipline after the break and a strange lethargy striking a side which appeared destined to break a shocking away losing streak against New Zealand teams.

The last time they beat the Hurricanes or any other Kiwi side away was in 2014 and after outscoring the Hurricanes three tries to one in the first half, with Sonny Bill Williams and fellow midfielder Tanielu Tele'a shining for the visitors, they should have shut the door on the home side, but unfortunately for their supporters the Blues rarely fail to disappoint and in this case it was déjà vu all over again, as the saying goes.

There was nothing on this match for the Hurricanes, who returned from a successful trip of South Africa last weekend already qualified for a home quarter-final, and their line-up reflected that. It was very much a B team against a Blues team determined to do something they haven't been able to manage for five years.


When they do confront that review over the next few days, the Blues will consider the need for a quality first-five, a man who can control a match, and that's why they're so desperate to sign Beauden Barrett, who was rested for the Hurricanes here. Their lack of composure in the second half was almost palpable.

It's difficult to see how they will get a better chance to beat the Hurricanes, who went pretty close to conceding the match through their selections and despite all of that scored 24 unanswered points in the second half.

A not-straight throw to the final lineout of the match summed up this match and in fact the whole season for the Blues. Thoughts go to coaches, in this case Leon MacDonald, in his first season, at times like these.

A bit like last weekend in Brisbane against the Reds, the Blues appeared likely to score every time they got the ball, with Tele'a and Caleb Clarke over early and Melani Nanai responding just before halftime to a breakout try to Peter Umaga-Jensen.

With midfielder Williams returning with a vengeance, and no doubt pleasing the watching All Blacks' selectors, and the pack firmly in charge, and Clarke and Nanai dangerous, the Blues could do little wrong.

Until the second half, that is, when the Hurricanes, bolstered by quality reinforcements Ardie Savea and TJ Perenara, simply took over, with inside back Fletcher Smith shining, and scoring a deserved try, and Umaga-Jensen grabbing another along with big lock Isaia Walker-Leaware.

An off night for All Blacks wing Rieko Ioane – who had issues handling the ball all evening – did not help and while Ma'a Nonu added excitement when joining the fray alongside Williams for the final 18 minutes, he couldn't turn the tide. What a disappointing way for that highly-decorated pair to depart.

The Hurricanes took the lead in the final 15 minutes and never looked likely to lose against a side who don't know how to win.


Hurricanes 29 (Peter Umaga-Jensen 2, Fletcher Smith, Isaia Walker-Leaware tries; Jackson Garden-Bachop 3 cons, pen)

Blues 24 (Tanielu Tele'a, Caleb Clarke, Melani Nanai tries; Otere Black pen, 3 cons)

Halftime: 5-24