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Hurricanes 16 Blues 31
Hurricanes (2 Aumua tries; Barrett 2 penalty)
Blues (Papalii, Carke, Perofeta, Ioane tries; Black 4 conversion, 1 penalty)
80 mins - The Hurricanes have one final opportunity to attack on their own 22. After seven phases the attack comes to nothing and the Blues grab first blood.
77 mins - TRY BLUES to Rieko Ioane
The Hurricanes go for a risky crossfield kick which Barrett and Umaga-Jensen make a meal of. It falls to Ioane who sprints 60m to seal the deal. Black converts the try. (BLU 31-16)
75 mins - PENALTY GOAL BLUES to Otere Black
The Blues are attacking just inside the Hurricanes 22. After six phases Ardie Savea goes for another breakdown turnover but he's off his feet and gives away a penalty.
Black will have a shot at goal from 25m out and he nails it. (BLU 24-16)
73 mins - A long passage of play sees Telea break the Hurricanes defensive line beating four players before Julian Savea brings him down. Black puts a pin-point kick that bounces into touch just inside the Hurricanes 22.
69 mins - The Blues are hot on the attack and after 11 phases the Hurricanes through Flanders win a crucial breakdown turnover and Garden-Bachop who clears back to the 22m line.
66 mins - The Hurricanes make a meal of the kickoff to give away a penalty. Harry Plummer will have a shot at goal from 45 metres out and it comes up just short and the Hurricanes will clear.
The Blues bring it back just inside the Hurricanes half and Kirifi gives away another penalty. The Blues will have a lineout of the 22m line.
64 mins - TRY HURRICANES to Asafo Aumua
From the lineout drive, the maul gets very messy and splits into two. The Blues lose track of where the ball is and Aumua has an easy run over the line to grab his second try. Barret can't convert the try from out wide. (BLU 21-16)
62 mins - The Hurricanes set a lineout drive but the Blues defend it well. With nothing on, Savea goes for a huge dummy that somehow fools the visitors and he crashes over but amazing defence sees him held up.
61 mins - The Hurricanes are back on the attack inside the Blues 22 after a strong run from Ardie Savea. After 12 phases the Blues give away a breakdown penalty and Barrett will give his side a lineout just five metres out.
55 mins - TRY BLUES to Stephen Perofeta
The Blues make the extra man count straight away. Off the back of the scrum, a great backline move sees Black in space. He dummies to draw Barrett in and Perofeta scores in the corner. Black converts the try. (BLU 21-11)
53 mins - YELLOW CARD to Du'Plessis Kirifi
The Blues produced a perfect lineout drive that goes just short of the line. The maul breaks off and Kirifi plays the ball on the ground and Paul Williams sends him to the bin for a deliberate penalty.
51 mins - The Blues are straight back onto the attack after the Hurricanes give away a breakdown penalty. The visitors will have a lineout on the home sides 22.
48 mins - TRY BLUES to Caleb Clark
The Blues are hot on the attack after Akira Ioane smashes off Ardie Savea and gets down to the Hurricanes 22. Black goes for the cross-field kick and Caleb Clark is unmarked and scores an easy try. Black converts the try. (BLU 14-11)
46 mins - The Hurricanes attack comes to nothing after a knock-on from Lomax in contact. Nock goes to clear and is taken late by Du'Plessis Kirifi to give away a cheap penalty.
The Blues have a lineout on halfway but Kirifi makes up for his mistake with a strong tackle to force a mistake.
42 mins - The Blues make a blunder from the kickoff and Clark is forced into touch. He fails to give the ball back and gives away a free-kick. The home side chooses to take a scrum on the visitors 22.
Kickoff - Jackson Garden-Bachop gets the second half underway.
Halftime - What a half of rugby that was at Sky Stadium. Both teams had opportunities to attack but early-season rust cost both sides.
Papalii got the games first try after just four minutes but the Hurricanes responded just one minute later through barnstorming hooker Asafo Aumua.
The Hurricanes lost lock James Blackwell to the bin but captain Ardie Savea came up with two crucial penalties when his side was under the pump. Two late monster penalties from Jordie Barrett saw his side to an unexpected lead into the sheds.
40 mins - PENALTY GOAL HURRICANES - Jordie Barrett
The Hurricanes are straight back onto the attack. Laumape puts a grubber in behind into the Blues 22 but Perofeta gobbles it up. The visitors look to counter-attack straight away but more poor discipline cost the Blues and Barrett will have another shot at goal.
From 43m out on the angle as the siren goes and he nails it. (HUR 11-7)
37 mins - PENALTY GOAL HURRICANES - Jordie Barrett
From the lineout on halfway the Blues give away a penalty which gives Jordie Barrett a chance to have a shot at goal. From 53 metres out on the angle, he nails it. What a kick and the Hurricanes are in front. (HUR 8-7)
34 mins - The Blues attack off the back of the scrum and Ioane goes close. After five phases of strong attack the Hurricanes captain wins his second crucial breakdown penalty to ease the pressure on his side. Big let off for the home side.
31 mins - YELLOW CARD HURRICANES to James Blackwell
The Blues are hot on the attack and the Hurricanes can't cope and are forced to give away another penalty. Paul Williams sends Blackwell to the sin bin for 10 minutes.
The visitors will have a scrum just five metres out.
29 mins - Consecutive penalties have the Blues on the attack just five metres out from the Hurricanes line. The home side concede another penalty and referee Paul Williams puts the Hurricanes on a team warning. The Blues choose to take a scrum.
27 mins - The Hurricanes set up camp inside the Blues half but after a strong run from Laumape, he offloads to Proctor but he puts down a simple pass to ease the pressure.
The Blues win a penalty from the scrum as they smash the Hurricanes at scrum time and Plummer gives his side a lineout on halfway.
23 mins - Savea makes a huge run down the right wing. He smashes himself over the top of Telea but the covering defence force him into touch just inside the Blues 22.
19 mins - The Hurricanes attack comes to nothing and the Blues counter-attack. Clarke makes a barnstorming run down the sideline, brushing off Fifita and Taumateine. But as he tries to offload he knocks the ball on.
The home side will have a scrum on halfway.
14 mins - Both sides are making uncharacteristic errors and showing some early season rust with several knock-ons to start this contest, which gives the home side will have a scrum on halfway.
From the scrum the Blues are caught offside and Barrett will give his side a lineout on the Blues 22.
10 mins - The Hurricanes are straight back on the attack with Aumua making a barnstorming run into the Blues 22. Garden-Bachop puts a grubber kick in but it goes dead in goal, so 22m drop out for the visitors.
5 mins - TRY Hurricanes to Asafo Aumua
The Hurricanes respond straight away and what a try it is. The home side have fastball just inside the Blues 22. It's flung wide to Proctor who offloads to Aumua who smashes his way over in the corner. Jordie Barrett can't converts the try. (BLU 7-5)
4 mins - TRY BLUES to Dalton Papalii
The Blues attack down the left-hand side through Caleb Clark who gets down to the Hurricanes 22. He flings it infield but Flanders intercepts it. Flanders throws a risky pass that goes to the ground and Papalii snaps it up and scores under the posts. Black converts the try. (BLU 7-0)
2 mins - The Blues get the first opportunity with the ball in hand inside the Hurricanes half. After six phases the home side win the first penalty of the evening and will have a lineout on the Blues 10m line.
Kickoff - Otere Black will get us underway.
7:03pm - Ardie Savea leads his Hurricanes side out for the first time as captain in his 100th appearance for the club.
7:02pm - Patrick Tuipulotu leads his Blues side out onto a perfect Sky Stadium playing surface on a perfect Wellington day. Surprisingly there isn't a breath of wind in Wellington and it's a balmy 21 degrees.
6:56pm - We're just 10 minutes away from kickoff at Sky Stadium and the official team lists are in.
Kia ora, good evening and welcome to Newshub's live coverage of the second game of Super Rugby Aotearoa between the Hurricanes and the Blues at Wellington's Sky Stadium.
After a professional performance from the four-time defending champions Crusaders in the southern derby to open the competition on Friday night, the Hurricanes and Blues will get their opportunity to impress.
The Blues bring a squad with a wealth of experience to the capital with seven All Blacks starting and international props Karl Tu'inukuafe and Ofa Tuungafasi coming off the bench.
Props James Lay and Nepo Laulala, and loose forward Adrian Choat will debut for the Blues, when they take on the Hurricanes in their season-opener.
The Hurricanes will line up with a new skipper in 2021 with All Blacks loose forward Ardie Savea the man in charge in what will be his 100th appearance for the franchise as he leads the side out for the first time.
All eyes will be on the inside backs with Counties Manukau halfback Jonathan Taumateine getting the nod to replace TJ Perenara who is on sabbatical in Japan. He'll form an inside combination with Jackson Garden-Bachop.
The home side have experience on the bench with All Black Peter Umaga-Jensen and livewires Du'Plessis Kirifi and Salesi Rayasi all ready to make an impact.
TAB odds: Hurricanes $2.08 Blues $1.69
Hurricanes: 1-Fraser Armstrong, 2-Asafo Aumua, 3-Tyrel Lomax, 4-James Blackwell, 5-Scott Scrafton, 6-Vaea Fifita, 7- Ardie Savea (c), 8-Devan Flanders, 9-Jonathan Taumateine, 10-Jackson Garden-Bachop, 11-Julian Savea, 12-Ngani Laumape, 13-Billy Proctor, 14-Wes Goosen, 15-Jordie Barrett
Reserves: 16-Ricky Riccitelli, 17-Xavier Numia, 18-Alex Fidow, 19-Reed Prinsep, 20-Du'Plessis Kirifi, 21-Luke Campbell, 22-Peter Umaga-Jensen, 23-Salesi Rayasi
Blues: 1-James Lay, 2-Kurt Eklund, 3-Nepo Laulala, 4-Patrick Tuipulotu, 5-Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 6-Akira Ioane, 7-Dalton Papalii, 8-Hoskins Sotutu, 9-Sam Nock, 10-Otere Black, 11-Caleb Clarke, 12-Harry Plummer, 13-Rieko Ioane, 14-Mark Telea, 15-Stephen Perofeta
Reserves: 16-Luteru Tolai, 17-Karl Tu'inukuafe, 18-Ofa Tuungafasi, 19-Josh Goodhue, 20-Tom Robinson, 21-Adrian Choat, 22-Jonathan Ruru, 23-Tanielu Tele'a
Hurricanes dark-horses to end Crusaders’ Super Rugby title streak
OPINION: Super Rugby Aotearoa starts this week, with most pundits locking in the Crusaders or Blues for the 2021 title.
And rightly so. On paper, both sides are stacked with talent and finished as the top two sides last season.
But if one team can knock over the apple cart, it's the Hurricanes. This might surprise a few, but there's good reason for it.
When the 'Canes were able to field their strongest line-up in 2020, they were the best team in the competition. They might lack star power all over the park, but in the key positions, they have x-factor and players that know how to win.
Everyone will point to the inside backs as the weak point for the Hurricanes and there is no doubting that, but baring the Crusaders, no-one else is strong in those positions either.
The Chiefs still don't know what their best 9/10 combination is, The Blues combination is good, but not spectacular - same with the Highlanders.
Jackson Garden-Bachop will start at No.10 for the Hurricanes and the one thing he brings now is experience. He bided his time on the pine behind Beauden Barrett and after a 2020 season where he surely learned a lot, he is ready to take control of the ship.
True, he won’t be a World Player of the Year like the Hurricanes used to have at first-five, but one thing he does have now is experience. He is used to playing in all the big games and has guided his side to a number of important results in 2020.
The Hurricanes also have a new leader in Ardie Savia and he's out to prove himself as captain material. He'll lead by example and he'll get his teammates in behind, which is one of a leader’s most important traits.
New Zealand's best leaders, like Richie McCaw, Kane Williamson, Brendon McCullum and Kieran Read, have had that follow-me style of leadership.
Savea may not be in that class yet, but he certainly has the style and temperament to be a successful captain.
His hard-working, dogged style of play will motivate his teammates and take them to the next level, which will be crucial for the Hurricanes.
The key player for Wellington will be Jordie Barrett. He supplies the x-factor and a point of difference to the side that is so dearly needed.
He also provides a sense of calmness in pressure situations and after being around the All Blacks for the past four years, he's gained valuable insight on what to do in the championship moments.
When Barrett was on the park last season, the Hurricanes proved they were the best team in the competition.
After he returned from injury in round four, after the Hurricanes started with back-to-back loses, they beat the Chiefs twice, Highlanders, Blues and ended the Crusaders’ four-year home record at Orangetheory Stadium, before losing to the Highlanders in an empty stadium in a dead-rubber game.
So if Barrett can stay fit, that will go a long way towards bringing a second Super Rugby title to the capital and the first since 2016.
The ‘Canes also have the competition’s most talked about player in Salesi Rayasi. After a blockbuster Mitre 10 Cup campaign for Auckland, where he was the leading tryscorer and tore opposition defences to shreds, the wing is ready to cement a spot in the starting side.
Just how the Hurricanes use him has yet to be seen, but if Rayasi can replicate his Mitre 10 Cup form, he could be the next breakout star.
The big question mark hanging over the Hurricanes is how they replace TJ Perenara. Not helping that predicament is the long-term injury to back-up halfback Jamie Booth, who will likely miss the entire campaign.
Perenara's leadership, experience and determination to bring success to the capital will be sorely missed.
The task will be tough for the men from the capital of course, but they know how to win.
They broke the Crusaders’ home streak in 2020 - and they’re the last team to win Super Rugby before the southerners went on their four-year title streak.
William Hewett is a Newshub online sports producer - and one-eyed Wellingtonian