Conrad Smith Leads Hurricanes Past the Blues with a Last-Minute Effort

Ben AlvesContributor IIMarch 23, 2012

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 23: Cory Jane and Conrad Smith of the Hurricanes celebrate winning the round five Super Rugby match between the Blues and the Hurricanes at Eden Park on March 23, 2012 in Auckland, New Zealand.  (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
Hannah Johnston/Getty Images

The Blues were an early-season favourite to go far in this year's Super Rugby season, and the Hurricanes were supposed to struggle, but it certainly didn't look that way tonight.

With a six-point lead and 30 seconds left on the clock, Hurricanes captain Conrad Smith scored a long-range try, converted and set up by Beauden Barrett, to snatch the game away from the struggling Blues. The Blues, despite only scoring one try to three, were leading for most of the game due to poor Hurricanes discipline in their own half.

Lachie Munro had a great game off the boot, but could not handle the pressure of being the last man on defense. He missed the tackle that led to Andre Taylor's try, and had a brain explosion when he allowed a ball to bounce for Cory Jane.

But he wasn't the only one. Benson Stanley, the normally-reliable tackler, missed a number of one-on-one tackles and a number of Blues were just bouncing off their opposite numbers. Also credit must be given to the Hurricanes. Andre Taylor was a danger on the counterattack, Perenara directed play well and Conrad Smith was his usual reliable self. It came as no surprise that he was the scorer of the game's deciding try.

The Blues dominated possession and territory and destroyed the Hurricanes forward pack at scrum time, but mental mistakes gave the Hurricanes a bonus-point win from long-range tries. Nonu may have achieved a bit of revenge by scoring the first try, but he'd probably trade that for a win.

The Hurricanes currently sit at third in the New Zealand conference while the Blues stay at last place and may have their backs to the wall for the rest of this Super Rugby season. Aucklanders definitely took notice of their team's poor showing during their three-game stretch on the road and attendance was far less than it was in their home opener.