• Blues hold off Canes

    The Blues claimed a 32-29 victory over the Hurricanes in their final pre-season match in Albany on Friday.

    After slumping to a 21-point defeat against the Chiefs last week, this was a much better performance from the Blues, who head into Vodacom Super Rugby with one win and one loss, the same as the Hurricanes.

    The visitors scored three first-half tries courtesy of Blade Thomsom, Brad Shields and Ardie Savea, but the Blues responded with tries by George Moala and Ben Lam. Three Ihaia West penalties saw both sides going into half-time deadlocked at 19-19. 

    A converted try and a penalty early in the second stanza gave the Blues a 10-point advantage, but the Canes hit back with two further scores, by Vaea Fifita and Savea, either side of a Simon Hickey penalty for the Blues. 

    With three points the difference and a minute remaining, the Blues successfully defended their line to close out the match.

    Blues – Tries: George Moala, Ben Lam, Blake Gibson. Conversion: Simon Hickey. Penalties: Ihaia West (4), Hickey.
    Hurricanes – Tries: Blade Thomson, Brad Shields, Ardie Savea (2), Vaea Fifita. Conversions: Jason Woodward (2).

    Blues – 15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Ben Lam, 13 Hamish Northcott, 12 George Moala, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Culum Retallick, 4 Hayden Triggs, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tony Woodcock.
    Subs: Greg Pleasants-Tate, Matt Moulds, Sam Prattley, Nic Mayhew, Will Lloyd, Joe Edwards, Blake Gibson, Kara Pryor, Simon Hickey, Francis Saili, Pita Ahki, Matt Vaega, Frank Halai, Bryn Hall, Jamison Gibson-Park, Josh Bekhuis.

    Hurricanes – 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Rey Lee-Lo, 11 Jason Woodward, 10 James Marshall, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Brayden Mitchell, 1 Reggie Goodes.
    Subs: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Ben May, 19 Geoff Cridge, 20 Vaea Fifita, 21 Mark Abbott, 22 Callum Gibbins, 23 Frae Wilson, 24 Otere Black, 25 Vince Aso.

    Photo: TVNZ.co.nz/SportNews

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    Mariette Adams