Lowe double help Canes edge Blues
PRE-SEASON REPORT: Two first half tries to young centre Jonah Lowe and a late match-winner to prop Chris Eves have punctuated the Hurricanes 38-33 win over the Blues.
The two sides met in their first Super Rugby pre-season match in Auckland on Saturday.
The Hurricanes outscored the Blues six tries to five on a scorching hot afternoon that saw four 25 minute quarters provide both coaches with the opportunity to give a large number of their extended squad valuable game time.
Lowe (2), scrumhalf Kemara Hauiti-Parapara, centre Ngani Laumape, and props Jeffery To'omaga-Allen and Eves were the visitor's try scorers on the day.
Fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder completed a successful return from injury with 50 minutes in the No.15 jersey, before being replaced by new Hurricane Jordie Barrett for the second half.
The Hurricanes will be pleased there were no immediate injury concerns after the match.
The Blues had come out firing with two early tries to centre Michael Collins giving them a 14-0 lead before Lowe put his team on the board by slicing through in the midfield.
His Hawke's Bay teammate Tiaan Falcon added the extras for what proved to be a sign of things to come as both sides traded blows throughout the match.
Hauiti-Parapara snuck over after a line-out drive before the break, but the Blues led 21-12 at half-time, and 26-12 when former Wellington wing Ambrose Curtis scooted away from long range shortly after the resumption.
However, the Hurricanes hit their straps in the third quarter with Lowe, Laumape and To'omaga-Allen all crossing in the space of less than 10 minutes to open up a 31-26 lead.
Blues centre Pasqualle Dunn grabbed back the lead for his team with 10 minutes to play with Piers Francis' conversion putting the home side up 33-31.
The Hurricanes upped the ante in the final minutes and when Eves saw space 10 metres out he charged through some tired defence to seal the result, fullback Jordie Barrett adding the conversion from a handy angle.
The Hurricanes will now re-focus on the Brisbane Global Tens next week, before completing their Super Rugby pre-season campaign with a match against the Crusaders in Waverley on February 17.
For the Hurricanes:
Tries:Lowe 2, Hauiti-Parapara, Laumape, To'omaga-Allen, Eves
Cons: Falcon, Black 2, Barrett
For the Blues:
Tries:Collins 2, Francis, Curtis, Dunn
Cons: West 3, Francis
Blues squad (matchday squad not confirmed): Michael Collins, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Matt Duffie, Tinoai Faiane, Epalahame Faiva, Charlie Faumuina, Piers Francis, Blake Gibson, Joshua Goodhue, Billy Guyton, Alex Hodgman, Akira Ioane, Rieko Ioane, Jerome Kaino, Steven Luatua, Sione Mafileo, Pauliasi Manu, George Moala, Matt Moulds, Melani Nanai, Brandon Nansen, Sam Nock, Declan O'Donnell, James Parsons, Stephen Perofeta, Sam Prattley, Kara Pryor, Augustine Pulu, Rene Ranger, Scott Scrafton, Murphy Taramai, Jordan Trainor, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Patrick Tuipulotu, Jimmy Tupou, Matt Vaega, Ihaia West.
Hurricanes: 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Malo Tuitama, 13 Jonah Lowe, 12 Vince Aso, 11 Wes Goosen, 10 Tiaan Falcon, 9 Kemara Hauiti-Parapara, 8 Hugh Renton, 7 Callum Gibbins, 6 James Blackwell, 5 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 4 Michael Fatialofa, 3 Mike Kainga, 2 Asafo Aumua, 1 Reg Goodes.
Replacements - from: Loni Uhila, Joe Apikotoa, Chris Eves, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Ricky Riccitelli, Mark Abbott, Vaea Fifita, Brad Shields, Toa Halafihi, Antonio Kirikiri, Reed Prinsep, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Otere Black, Mason Emerson, Ngani Laumape, Matt Proctor, Jordie Barrett.
Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)