'Canes too classy for Blues
SUPER RUGBY REPORT: the Hurricanes finished strongly to defeat the Blues 36-15 at Eden Park Friday and move to the top of the Super Rugby ladder.
The Hurricanes scored five tries to two in the bonus-point victory to leave the Blues winless in their last 16 matches against New Zealand opposition.
It was the Hurricanes' ninth straight win and confirms the Wellington team as favourites for this year's title.
However, Blues coach Tana Umaga will face further questions after his side's eighth defeat of the season and their fifth at home.
Blues captain Augustine Pulu said the Aucklanders' poor discipline proved costly.
"We just let them off by giving penalties and they took their chances," he said.
Hurricanes' hooker Ricky Riccitelli scored the opening try from a line-out drive in the sixth minute off the back of a penalty earned by the visitors' dominant scrum.
The Blues went on the attack but had to settle for a penalty before Orbyn Leger's try gave them the lead after being set up by Sonny Bill Williams.
Williams, returning from a wrist injury, beat two defenders then sent a one-handed offload over his head which found Leger unmarked.
The Hurricanes regained the lead when they were awarded a penalty and Gareth Evans caught the Blues defence napping with a quick tap to cross for a try when they were expecting a kick for goal.
The Blues laid siege to the Hurricanes' line and were rewarded when Ofa Tuungafasi crossed 10 minutes after the restart only to have Nehe Milner-Skudder hit back immediately.
Sam Lousi then extended the Hurricanes' advantage after a line-out steal from Evans, blowing out the lead to 28-15.
A penalty and a try to Matt Proctor made it 36-15 to secure the Hurricanes a bonus point.
Man of the match: Nehe Milner-Skudder was a handful with ball in hand and he scored a try as well. He deserves the award. A special mention also goes to prop Jeff Toomaga-Allen for his all-round performance.
Tries: Leger, Tuungafasi
Tries: Riccitelli, Evans, Milner-Skudder, Lousi, Proctor
Con: B Barrett 4
Pen: B Barrett
Blues: 15 Matt Duffie, 14 Rieko Ioane, 13 Orbyn Leger, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Stephen Perofeta, 9 Augustine Pulu (captain), 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Murphy Taramai, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Ofa Tuungafasi, 2 James Parsons, 1 Ross Wright.
Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Ben Nee-Nee, 20 Kara Pryor, 21 Jonathan Ruru, 22 Dan Kirkpatrick, 23 Melani Nanai.
Hurricanes: 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Finlay Christie, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields (captain), 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 James O'Reilly, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Ben May, 19 Michael Fatialofa, 20 Blade Thomson, 21 Thomas Perenara, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Jordie Barrett
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Brendon Pickerill & Paul Williams
TMO: Ben Skeen
AFP & @rugby365com