The Blues have bowed out of Super Rugby 2019 with another loss, this time going down 29-24 to the Hurricanes in Wellington.
Like last night’s Highlanders v Waratahs game, this was a game of two halves - except the key difference was that the Highlanders gave themselves 42 points to fall back on in the second half of their game. The Blues only had a 24-5 lead, and the Canes had several All Blacks to come on off the bench.
Hurricanes v Blues | Super Rugby 2019 Rd 18 Highlights— Super Rugby (@SuperRugby) June 15, 2019
A big second half sees the @Hurricanesrugby storm home to a 29-24 victory over the @BluesRugbyTeam in Wellington. #SuperRugby #HURvBLU pic.twitter.com/1UjdsFH2gB
However, it was the unheralded Fletcher Smith that proved the game breaker, coming on in the second half for James Marshall and scoring a try then setting up another shortly after.
Until then, the Blues had been the better team in a very scrappy game. They opened the scoring with an Otere Black penalty, before setting up Tanielu Tele’a for the opening try with a lovely dummy and give to his winger.
Caleb Clarke got on the scoresheet after half an hour of messy play by both teams, after Sonny Bill Williams ran a dummy line and opened up a huge hole in midfield for him to run through and score. The, after the halftime hooter had sounded, the Blues pressed on and scored through Melani Nanai. Black converted all three and it seemed as though the Canes were handing them a rare away win.
Whatever coach John Plumtree said to his team at halftime worked though, and after Smith’s try they edged closer to the lead. The Blues barely had the ball in the Canes’ side of the field for the entire half, and then had to contend with TJ Perenara, Ardie Savea and Asafo Aumua coming into the action.
After 62 minutes, Peter Umaga-Jensen scored his second of the night after bagging one in the first half, which gave the home side the lead. Jackson Garden-Bachop then tacked on a penalty at the end to give the Canes a bit of breathing room.
They can now sit and wait for results overnight in South Africa to see who they play in their quarter final next weekend in Wellington. For the Blues, it’s just time to go home and start thinking about next season.
Hurricanes 29 (P Umaga-Jensen 2, F Smith, I Walker Leawere tries; J Garden-Bachop 3 con, pen)
Blues 24 (T Tele’a, C Clarke, M Nanai tries; O Black 3 con, pen)
HT: 24-5 Blues