14 Mar 2015

Hurricanes top Blues for four straight wins

11:05 am on 14 March 2015

Julian Savea scored two tries, the second with less than five minutes remaining, to give the Hurricanes a 30-23 victory over the Blues in Palmerston North on Friday.

Julian Savea on Hurricanes duty in South Africa

Hurricanes wing Julian Savea in action. Photo: Photosport

It was the Hurricanes' fourth successive victory and propelled them back to the top of the New Zealand conference and overall standings.

It is also the first time they have opened the Super Rugby competition with four wins.

The Blues lost their fifth successive match, adding to the pressure on coach John Kirwan, who in the last two weeks has been subject to heavy scrutiny and media reports he may be sacked.

The Hurricanes lock James Broadhurst has been cited for alleged foul play during the match.

Broadhurst is alleged to have struck the Blues captain Luke Braid with his knee in the 61st minute.

The Hurricanes had dominated the first 20 minutes with a try to TJ Perenara and two penalties to Beauden Barrett before Lolagi Visinia's intercept try from his own 22-metre line turned the momentum of the first half toward the Blues.

Blues winger Frank Halai added Auckland's second try, while first five Ihaia West slotted a penalty to go with his two conversions to give their side a 17-11 lead.

The Hurricanes, however, refused to kill the ball when given a penalty three minutes after the halftime hooter had sounded and Matt Proctor scored a try following a length of the field counter-attack to take an 18-17 advantage into the break.

West added a penalty after half-time to give the Blues a 20-18 lead, before fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder inserted himself again into a Hurricanes' backline move and freed up Savea to cross for a try that Barrett converted.

Blues first five West added his third penalty but then missed two further shots at goal as the match tightened up, before Savea crossed to grab the bonus-point try.

Meanwhile, the Melbourne Rebels picked up their second win of the Super Rugby campaign by holding off the Western Force 21-17 in Perth.

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