Blues demolish Hurricanes at Eden Park
May 31, 2014
The Blues' Patrick Tuipulotu boosted his All Blacks' hopes with a strong and dynamic performance
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Jerome Kaino showcased his All Blacks credentials as the Blues dealt the Hurricanes' Super Rugby play-offs hopes a blow with a dominant victory at Eden Park in Auckland.
The 10th-placed Blues extended to six matches their undefeated run at Eden Park, with Kaino scoring one of five tries in arguably their best performance of the season.
A Hurricanes side coming off a 45-8 humbling of the Chiefs climb one place to fifth courtesy of a bonus point for scoring four tries, but they have played one more game than most of their play-offs rivals and this defeat undoubtedly has damaged their aspirations.
Kaino is pushing hard for a starting spot in New Zealand's Test team against England at Eden Park next week, and he produced another powerhouse performance at No.8 just two months after completing his return from Japanese club rugby. He led a physical defensive line and made consistent metres with defenders hanging onto his back, most notably when scoring soon after half-time.
Luke Braid was similarly industrious, and the Blues captain helped to give rookie first five-eighth Ihaia West a memorable starting debut at first five-eighth. West kicked 12 points while Lolagi Visinia, George Moala and Patrick Tuipulotu, who should be named in the All Blacks squad unveiled on Sunday for the three-Test England series, also scored tries.
The Blues opened their account with a penalty try awarded when Hurricanes fullback Matt Proctor was deemed to have deliberately knocked down a pass in the 15th minute. Proctor was also shown a yellow card.
Hurricanes flanker Faifile Levave scored from an early rolling maul and bagged his second in the dying minutes as his team finished strongly. Brothers Julian and Ardie Savea each scored a try to cap a sweeping move after their team had trailed 27-7 midway through the second spell, but the visitors never threatened a win to back up their 39-20 defeat of the Blues earlier in the season.
New Zealand selectors will be concerned at injuries that forced two All Blacks first-choice players from the ground in the second half - Blues prop Tony Woodcock and Hurricanes wing Julian Savea.
Blues 37-24 Hurricanes (Australia only)