The Hurricanes cruised to a 39-20 bonus-point victory over the Blues in Wellington on Friday.
There were moments when the Blues looked threatening, and against all expectations, they led 17-13 at half-time. But that dominance was to be short-lived, as the Hurricanes hit back strongly in the second stanza.
Despite losing hooker Dane Coles to a yellow card at the end of the first period, the Hurricanes scored first in the second. Winger Julian Savea took an inside ball from flyhalf Beauden Barrett, and carried two defenders over the tryline. This score allowed the Hurricanes to reclaim the lead.
The hosts then added a further try through TJ Perenara. A pass by Cory Jane in the build-up was forward, although the TMO ruled it to be legal. The Hurricanes extended their scoreboard advantage to 10 points.
Hurricanes captain Conrad Smith clinched the four-try bonus point in the 63rd minute. Reserve hooker Motu Matu'u added another five-pointer right on full-time to complete the rout.
Hurricanes – Tries: Alapati Leiua, Julian Savea, TJ Perenara, Conrad Smith, Motu Matu'u. Conversions: Beauden Barrett (4). Penalties: Barrett (2).
Blues – Tries: George Moala, Penalty try. Conversions: Chris Noakes, Benji Marshall. Penalties: Noakes, Marshall.
Hurricanes – 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith (c), 12 Alapati Leiua, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Reggie Goodes.
Subs: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Chris Eves, 18 John Schwalger, 19 Blade Thomson, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Tim Bateman, 23 Matt Proctor.
Blues – 15 Charles Piutau, 14 George Moala, 13 Francis Saili, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 Lolagi Visinia, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Jerome Kaino, 7 Luke Braid (c), 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Subs: 16 James Parsons, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Liaki Moli, 20 Brendon O'Connor, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Benji Marshall, 23 Frank Halai.
Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images