Hurricanes put bodies on line to win first game

Vito also scored a first-half try while flyhalf Beauden Barrett slotted a conversion and two penalties.


Rene Ranger and George Moala scored tries for the Blues. Flyhalf Ihaia West slotted three penalties.

Television match official Sean McDermott, however, earned the ire of the Blues fans with two decisions, that while correct, were howled by the Eden Park faithful watching on the big screen.

McDermott first ruled Hurricanes flanker Ardie Savea had not knocked the ball on before he fed Perenara for his second try then overturned a Tevita Li try for a forward pass after the winger had carved open the Hurricanes defence.

The Blues had dominated the first 20 minutes as their forwards crashed the ball up at pace to commit tacklers and when the gaps opened they spread it wide, but were only able to convert that pressure into a West penalty and Ranger’s try.

The Hurricanes finally got their hands on the ball and began to punch holes in the Blues defence, with Vito crashing over from an attacking lineout before Perenara capped off a sweeping movement from halfway.

Barrett then slotted a late penalty to give their side a 15-8 halftime lead.

Moala brought his side back into the game after the break, before Perenara’s second try gave the visitors a 23-13 lead, the largest of the match.

The Blues had the better of the final quarter but only got two further penalties from West as the Hurricanes defence held firm, with every man putting their body on the line after the final hooter.

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)