Hurricanes v.s Blues Super Rugby review
February 23, 2013
First 20: 7.25/10
The game started off at a high pace with both sides clearly intent on attacking whenever possible. 3 minutes in Chris Noakes threw an excellent dummy to split the ‘Canes defensive line down the middle. In the following passage, with the ‘Canes now reeling, the Blues were awarded a penalty and Piri Weepu converted to open the scoring.
The Hurricanes hit back immediately by running great lines and recycling several phases to get deep into the opposition 22 before they too were awarded a penalty for an infringement at the breakdown. Honours even at 8 minutes.
It seemed likely from as early as the 10 minute mark that we would see a number of tries in this match due to the quality of attacking play and the manner in which both back-lines were being utilized. The Blues continued to worked possession well stretching the Hurricanes’ defence and were awarded another shot at goal, this time Piri Weepu just missing the attempt. 5 minutes later the Hurricanes were awarded a shot a goal as the Blues collapsed a scrum. Beauden Barrett put his side into the lead 3 – 6.
Second 20: 7.5/10
Territory and possession were relatively even going into the second quarter when the Blues made the most of a lineout on the ‘Canes 22. They finished off an excellently worked move for Frank Halai to touch down on the other side of the pitch. Piri Weepu hit the post and missed with his conversion attempt.
Referee Glen Jackson appeared to be having an off day missing several infringements at the breakdown as the Canes responded by throwing the kitchen sink at the Blues on attack. Eventually the Blues defence gave in with Julian Savea finishing off a top-drawer team try. Beauden Barrett converted from the touchline.
10 minutes to half time and the game began to open up as the high-paced attack of the Canes, littered with effective scissor moves and speculative passes, began to over-run the Blues’ defence. The Blues’ rare moments of respite with ball in hand were only due to their massive counter-attacking presence which kept the Canes in check. On the hooter Ben Franks was penalized for falling on the wrong side of the tackle within range for Piri Weepu. His effort snuck over, 13 – 11 the half-time score.
Third 20: 7.25/10
The high pace of play followed into the second half with Chris Noakes managing his second line-break of the game only to be spurned by a fumble from one of his team mates only 1 minute into proceedings. In the same visit to the 22 the Blues were awarded for a Canes player not rolling away but opted for an attacking line out (why oh why!!) A poor pass down the line ruined this opportunity. Momentum began to shift in the Blues favour as their attacking phases began to rack up. They were rewarded for their patience in the 49th minute as Charles Piutau finished off a well worked overlap. Weepu missed the regulation conversion attempt. The Blues were now in the lead for the first time since the 8th minute, 13 – 16. Chris Noakes and Conrad Smith two of the star players to this point.
Well against the run of play in the 55th minute, Blues try-scorer Frank Halai was sent off and penalized with a penalty try for slapping the ball into touch in his own in-goal area. 20 points to 16. The Blues momentum immediately hit back against desperate defence from the Canes as they held onto their 4 point lead.
Fourth 20: 7.75/10
From immense pressure created the Blues were awarded a penalty and Weepu took the honours, 20 points to 19.
Around the 63 minute with 15 men on 14, momentum began to shift in the Canes favour for the first time in the half. Referee Glen Jackson missed yet another infringement as the Blues got away with an obvious high-tackle in a kickable position for the Canes. The Blues made the most of this let-off by working the ball 80 meters up the field for Rene Ranger to bust over the line from 5 meters out. The Blues back in the lead by 20 – 24. Referee Glen Jackson missed yet another infringement as Victor Vito was tackled high on the Blues try-line. A few phases later Rene Ranger of the Blues nearly got in for a try but was brought down by some cover-defence and was not penalized by referee Glen Jackson for holding onto the ball without any on-coming support. The Blues recycled the ball and brilliantly worked it across the field and away from the traffic to score in the opposite corner. The match now in the bag with a 4 try bonus-point, 20 -31. At the death Weepu knocked over another penalty to win comfortably by 20 – 34.
A terrific attacking performance from both sides but we must query the loyalty of referee Glen Jackson.