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Hurricanes beat Blues, Rebels hold off Reds in Super Rugby

The Hurricanes produced another demonstration of the miracle of winning without possession when they beat the Blues 22-12 in Super Rugby on Friday.
Meanwhile, the Melbourne Rebels stayed on top of the Australian conference after holding off the visiting Queensland Reds 30-24.
Relying almost entirely on turnovers or possession kicked to them, the Hurricanes showed the potency of their counterattack to beat the Blues by three tries to two while gaining only 30% of possession and spending almost all of the match camped in their own half.
The match again highlighted the poor standard of the New Zealand conference. The Hurricanes, second to the Crusaders on overall points after 13 rounds, had neither a scrum nor a lineout, and their indiscipline cost 16 penalties.
They relied on the Blues giving them the ball which the Blues seemed happy to do on their way to their fourth consecutive loss. The Blues constantly turned over possession through handling errors and didn't seem able to construct a threatening attack.
The Auckland-based Blues have arguably the best winger in the world, Rieko Ioane, on the left wing but he touched the ball only twice.
The Hurricanes' defensive performance was led by scrumhalf and captain TJ Perenara, who harassed the Blues around the fringes of scrums and breakdowns.
The Blues deservedly scored first, through scrumhalf Sam Nock, and the Hurricanes leveled when when center Ngani Laumape won a turnover and sent winger Ben Lam on an almost 50-meter run to the line during which he shrugged off four tacklers.
At 7-7, the Hurricanes enjoyed a little time in the Blues' 22, won a scrum and, after Ardie Savea made a thrust from the back, Jordie Barrett took the second pass to score.
The Blues started the second half as the first, camped deep in Hurricanes' territory. After a series of collapsed scrums, the Hurricanes tighthead Jeff To'omaga-Allen was sin-binned and in his absence the Blues finally worked a try to flanker Dalton Papali'i.
The Hurricanes clung to a 14-12 lead, and that changed in the 67th minute when flyhalf Beauden Barrett intercepted a pass in the heart of the Blues attack and ran more than 40 meters to score. It was a pivotal moment. The Hurricanes' defense was stretched and if Barrett had missed his intercept, the Blues might have scored.
The Hurricanes finally made the game safe in the 74th when Barrett forced a turnover, making a tackle then getting up to win the ball. A phase later the Blues conceded a penalty which Barrett kicked for 22-12.
Melbourne dominated ball and territory at home, but struggled to shake off Queensland, which would hit back after conceding.
Melbourne scored four tries, and enjoyed 20 minutes with a man advantage after Queensland captain Samu Kerevi and Scott Higginbotham were deservedly sin-binned, but penalties kept the Reds in the game. Bryce Hegarty's fourth and last penalty kick gave them a losing bonus point.


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