Some would say that the best team didn’t win when the Hurricanes came out on top against the Blues at Eden Park on Friday morning.
The score was 22-12 to the Canes, but the reality was that, outplayed in every facet and virtually every phase, the visitors won because they used their sparse opportunities to the full.
All of their tries were long distance efforts in a match where they were behind in the possession stakes and the territorial advantage to the tune of 63-37.
Brothers Beauden and Jordie Barrett were the stars as the Hurricanes came from behind to win the match, but the Blues have much soul-searching to do for their inability to turn close-to-the-line pressure into points.
Effectively the visitors’ superior defence won the day.
The game was nicely poised going into the final 15 minutes. But the Barretts saw the Hurricanes home when he intercepted a wild pass to score 10 minutes from time against the run of play, before Jordie kicked a long-range penalty to put his side beyond danger and deny the Blues a bonus point..
Blues (7) 12: Tries: Sam Nock, Dalton Papali’i. Conversion: Harry Plummer.
Hurricanes (14) 22: Tries: Ben Lam, Jordie Barrett, Beauden Barrett. Conversions: Beauden Barrett (2). Penalty: Jordie Barrett.
Rebels on top against Reds
The Rebels are still on top of the Australian conference after their 30-24 victory over the Reds in Melbourne on Friday.
They are now four points clear in the Australian conference but will be overtaken if they claim an expected bonus-point victory at home over the Sunwolves on Sunday morning.
The Rebels went 14-11 up at half-time thanks to tries from Marika Koroibete and Anaru Rangi, punishing another ill-disciplined performance from the Reds, who lost Scott Higginbotham and Sefa Naivalu to yellow cards in the first half.
However, the visitors managed to keep themselves in the match thanks to two penalties from Bryce Hegarty and a try from replacement Isaac Lucas.
The Rebels took just four minutes to extend their lead in the second half, when loosehead prop Tetera Faulkner applied the finishing touches to a break from Reece Hodge. Another break from Hodge then led to a try for fullback Dane Haylett-Petty as the Reds wilted against the visitors.
But the Reds weren’t finished. Replacement prop Harry Hoopert scored from a driving maul before Hegarty and Hodge kicked penalties to make it a six-point game in the final ten minutes.
Hodge had the last laugh with just a minute on the clock, but Hegarty slotted his fourth penalty after the hooter to allow the Reds to at least take a losing bonus point from the match.
Rebels (14) 30: Tries: Marika Koroibete, Anaru Rangi, Tetera Faulkner, Dane Haylett-Petty. Conversions: Quade Cooper (2). Penalties: Reece Hodge (2)
Reds (11) 24: Tries: Isaac Lucas, Harry Hoopert. Conversion: Bryce Hegarty. Penalties: Hegarty (4).