Blues overrun Hurricanes in pre-season match

04 Feb 2012

The Blues opened their pre-season account with a convincing 36-22 victory over the Hurricanes on Saturday.

Played in front of a boisterous 6000 strong crowd in Whangarei, the Blues outscored the visitors by six tries to one, with only the boot of Beauden Barrett keeping the Hurricanes in the hunt with four penalties and a conversion.

New Zealand Player of the Year Jerome Kaino captained the side in Keven Mealamu’s absence and he picked up where he left off during the World Cup, turning in an immensely physical performance.

Playing number eight rather than his usual position of blindside flanker, Kaino put in a few early bone-crunching tackles before crashing over for the first try of the afternoon from a rolling maul after just six minutes.

Rookie George Moala showed he will be one to keep a close eye on this season. A strong and incredibly powerful player, Moala bashed his way through two defenders to score after 16 minutes.

Leading 12-0 at the end of the first quarter, Dan Kirkpatrick narrowed the deficit for the Hurricanes with a penalty kick, but a Chris Lowrey intercept try followed by another five pointer to Anthony Boric saw the Blues race out to a 26-3 halftime lead.

However with an almost entirely different team taking the field in the second half, the Blues lost their momentum and allowed the Hurricanes to claw their way back into contention.

The men from the capital seemed to have more interest in winning the match rather than trying different things during the pre-season encounter as Beauden Barrett, replacing Dan Kirkpatrick at first five-eighths, slotted two penalty goals.

A runaway try to wing Julian Savea followed by a conversion and another penalty kick saw the Hurricanes close the gap to just 26-22 at the end of the third quarter, however the Blues rallied in the final quarter to close out the match.

Sherwin Stowers looked lively and hungry for work in the second half and finished off a movement to score in the corner, before Hadleigh Parkes made a lovely break and passed inside to local favourite Dan Pryor who dived over the line to a huge cheer from the Northland faithful.

Pat Lam will be pleased with the effort his team showed during the Blues’ first pre-season outing, particularly the defence which at times suffocated the Hurricanes, however discipline will surely be a focal point in the post-match review as numerous infringements kept the visitors in the game.

Rudi Wulf was a standout at fullback while Wider Training Group players James Parsons, Wayne Ngaluafe and Dan Pryor certainly showed they are up to this level of rugby.

The Blues now have a couple of days off before heading to camp in Whangaparoa. Their next pre-season game is against the Melbourne Rebels in Melbourne on Saturday.

Blues 36 (Jerome Kaino, George Moala, Chris Lowrey, Anthony Boric, Sherwin Stowers, Dan Pryor tries; Michael Hobbs 3 con)

Hurricanes 22 (Julian Savea try; Daniel Kirkpatrick pen, Beauden Barrett 4 pen, con)

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ROUND 1

Blues v
Chiefs

Sat 14 Feb 2015
7:35pm

Stormers v
Blues

Sun 22 Feb 2015
6am

Cheetahs v
Blues

Sat 28 Feb 2015
6:10am

Blues v
Lions

Fri 6 Mar 2015
7:35pm

Hurricanes v
Blues

Fri 13 Mar 2015
7:35pm

Waratahs v
Blues

Sat 11 Apr 2015
9:40pm

Chiefs v
Blues

Sat 4 Apr 2015
7:35pm

Blues v
Brumbies

Fri 10 Apr 2015
7:35pm

Highlanders v
Blues

Sat 18 Apr 2015
7:35pm

Crusaders v
Blues

Mon 25 May 2015
7:35pm

Blues v
Force

Sat 2 May 2015
5:30pm

Rebels v
Blues

Fri 8 May 2015
9:40pm

Blues v
Bulls

Fri 15 May 2015
7:35pm

Blues v
Hurricanes

Sat 23 May 2015
7:35pm

Blues v
Crusaders

Sat 6 Jun 2015
7:35pm

Blues v
Highlanders

Sat 13 Jun 2015
7:35pm
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GO BLUES!
# June 12, 2012 - 12:18am
WOOP! GO BLUES! SHOUTOUT TO TAMAKI COLLEGE!

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junior
# June 11, 2012 - 11:28pm
@Wales 2001-2002: Exactly, that was a dream team for any coach. Blues 1996, 1997 would have won with no coach with that awesome lineup. They pretty much were the 1995 WC team. A team who made it to the finals and just lost, many say because they were food poisoned. many say that team was the greatest ever all black team assembled. I agree. Poor laurie mains should have been given a second chance. Now in the new millenium, rugby leagues popularity in auckland has skyrocketed. We no longer are the force we once were, with players of all ages flocking to league, mt smart stadiums warriors home games regularly outselling the blues despite the warriors having a worse losing record most years. People watching australian NRL and state of origin now. Aussies. I know people who can name every single player in the eels. panthers, queensland side or NSW but would struggle to name 4 or 5 blues players. It never used to be like this. No other franchise would stand a chance against auckland if leagues popularity here wasn't sapping so much rugby talent.

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junior
# June 11, 2012 - 11:34pm
@Senior: Plenty of fantasy rugby coaches on this website with thier own strategies and methadologies. If I had a dollar for every internet nigel nobody & armchair critic who thought they could coach better than the real deal I would be a very rich man. Even the plant waterer in our office regularly gives his opinions, selections and strategy play by plays on how he thinks we could improve our winning chances. Truth is that any team missing 10 or more of its first pick players is gonna struggle. Last years champion reds team, too many injuries early on and now no chance of making a semi. @cOACH CANT WIN WITH THE ONE EYED CRITICS ..well put. yours is one of many intelligent statements made on this board in my absence.