Blues hold off Hurricanes to win ill-disciplined clash

Hoskins Sotutu runs into contact against the Hurricanes.

The Blues have held on to beat the Hurricanes 25-19 in a sloppy, ill-disciplined evening of Super Rugby action in Wellington.

Both sides had moments of brilliance and both had moments they'd rather forget but it was the Blues who came away with the win despite a fiery finish from their hosts.

The match started with plenty of promise for both sides as the Blues looked to bury their demons from last week's shock loss to the Brumbies with an early try to Patrick Tuipulotu and the previously-undefeated Hurricanes replied with some slick footwork from Tyrel Lomax.

But from there the match started to fall apart with the Hurricanes reduced to 14 men off poor discipline from lock Isaia Walker-Leawere who interfered with the ball at a Blues ruck while clearly off his feet.

It added to a frustrating first half for the Hurricanes which was perhaps summarised best by Jordie Barrett's missed conversion from right in front which hit the posts.

The Blues made the most of the advantage they were given to finish the half though, scoring twice through Caleb Clarke and Hoskins Sotutu to earn a 22-5 lead at the break.

"We've got to not be stupid and give away stupid penalties," Hurricanes assistant coach Cory Jane told Sky Sport bluntly at the break.

"We've got to get some ball - we got it once, we got down there and we scored a try."

Jane's men appeared to be listening as they saw their chance to claw their way back into the contest early in the second half when Cam Suafoa was also sent to the bin for a high tackle.

Tries to Salesi Rayasi and Joshua Moorby gave the Cake Tin crowd something to rise for as they deficit was cut to three points.

The Hurricanes could have had another try had it not been for a superb tackle from in-form Blues halfback Finlay Christie, he swept across the field to tackle the much-larger Barrett into touch as he looked to finish off a brave run from the Hurricanes.

Beauden Barrett looks to kick against the Hurricanes.

But instead the match remained locked at 22-19 in the visitors' favour although things were going off the rails for the Blues with the ball going to ground or the sideline on numerous occasions, stunting the attacking flare their star-studded backline is usually renowned for.

But their biggest issue was the lineout following the early departure of Tuipulotu with a knee issue, eventually leading the Blues to look at other options when they earned penalties instead of a rolling maul - a rarity in today's game.

Instead, a penalty from Stephen Perofeta pushed the game out to six points, leaving the Hurricanes needing a converted try to steal the win - and they almost had it.

The nerves in the Blues pack appeared to be showing in the final moments when the Hurricanes earned a penalty at a Blues scrum near the Auckland line, giving the hosts a chance to steal a win much like the Fijian Drua had against the Crusaders hours before.

But it wasn't meant to be as Blues enforcer Hoskins Sotutu delivered when his side needed him most, conjuring a turnover at an ensuing ruck to clear the ball into touch and hold on for a tight win.

Hurricanes players react after their loss to the Blues.

"You've just got to trust that the boys are going to work for you," Blues skipper Dalton Papalii said after the match.

"That was a big time play that we needed and we trust our guys to make them."

Stand-in skipper Dane Coles, leading the side in the absence of suspended Ardie Savea, conceded his side gave away too much in the first half.

"We just let ourselves down in that first half," he said.

"Our discipline was poor."

Hurricanes 19 [Tyrel Lomax, Josh Moorby, Salesi Rayasi tries; Jordie Barrett 2 con]

Blues 25 [Patrick Tuipulotu, Caleb Clarke, Hoskins Sotutu tries; Stephen Perofeta 2 con, 2 pen]

HT: 5-22


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