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Hurricanes Storm Past Blues

MANGATAINOKA, NEW ZEALAND - JANUARY 23:  Hosea Gear of the Hurricanes fends off Rene Ranger of the Blues during a Super 14 Trial match between the Hurricanes and the Blues at Mangatainoka Rugby grounds on January 23, 2010 in Mangatainoka, New Zealand.  (Photo by Marty Melville/Getty Images)
Marty Melville/Getty Images
Jeff CheshireAnalyst IIFebruary 12, 2010

The Hurricanes beat the Blues in a true game of two halves on Friday night at Albany. It was a fast-paced game, dominated by the number of penalties awarded but still seemed to flow well. 

The Blues started off well with new signing Stephen Brett having a blinder. It didn't take him long to touch down for the first try of the 2010 Super 14 as he went through a large gap in the defence after a lineout. He was instrumental in setting up the Blues second try also as he sold a dummy and went through a gap before getting the pass away for John Afoa to crash over beneath the posts.

Brett kicked well in the first half as well making both conversions and two penalties. While the Blues looked the dominant side the Hurricanes were able to stay in touch as Willie Ripia kicked four first half penalties as the Blues were punished heavily by Stuart Dickinson while the players adapted to the new breakdown rulings.

The Blues went to the break with a 20-12 point lead.

But that was as good as it got for the Blues as the Hurricanes scored 22 unanswered points in the second half. Hosea Gear who looked dominant all night and proved to be a handful every time he got the ball finally crossed the line after Brett fired an intercept pass straight to him. Ripia knocked over one more penalty and Piri Weepu added another four penalties to see the Hurricanes to a 34-20 win.

In a twist of fate Brett had a second half to forget seemingly unable to do anything right.

Other standout players included Conrad Smith who had a superb game defensively, John Afoa was mobile and his scrummaging was of a high standard, Cory Jane who always looked safe under the high ball while Victor Vito had a strong all-around game.

Next week the Blues travel to Dunedin to take on the Highlanders while the Hurricanes are back at home against the Force. 

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