Super Rugby Aotearoa: Blues topple Hurricanes to snap two-game losing streak

The Blues have ended their two-match losing run in Super Rugby Aotearoa, defeating the Hurricanes 27-17 at Eden Park.

The victory closes the gap at the top of Super Rugby Aotearoa between the Blues (14) and Crusaders (18) to just four points, following the reigning champions' upset loss to the Highlanders in Christchurch on Friday.

The Hurricanes on the other hand sit last on the competition ladder, three points behind the Chiefs, having played one game more.

Beginning the match looking for a second straight victory after last week's win over the Highlanders, the Hurricanes opened the scoring despite being down to 14-men.

After a yellow card to Du'Plessis Kirifi, given 10 minutes in the bin for an arm to the head of Otere Black, the boot of Jordie Barrett put the Hurricanes in front, scoring with a penalty kick and breaking the deadlock after 28 minutes.

The Blues though hit back in somewhat controversial fashion. As the Blues attempted a lineout drive, Hurricanes captain Ardie Savea appeared to have prevented the grounding of the ball by Blues hooker Luteru Tolai. 

But the officials saw otherwise, and showed Savea a yellow card for illegally bringing down the maul, and awarded a penalty try in favour of the home side.

Down to 14 for the second time in the first half, the Hurricanes closed the gap to a point, as another Barrett penalty brought the scores to 7-6.

Penalties each way ended the first half, as the two sides traded kicks through Black and Barrett respectively, and bringing the opening 40 minutes to a close with the Blues holding a one-point lead at 10-9.

After last week's performance that saw him score all 30 of the Hurricanes' points, Barrett looked to again be his side's main scoring threat. From 55 metres out, Barrett gave the Hurricanes the lead with a penalty kick, scoring the first points of the second half as well.

As they'd done in the first half though, the Blues responded with a try. 

After a line dropout was forced, fullback Stephen Perofeta broke through the Hurricanes' line, before drawing in the final defender and passing to second-five TJ Faiane - who raced through for a try in his first start of the season. 

Up 17-12, the Blues added to their lead as Rieko Ioane split the Hurricanes' defence, before finding Mark Telea on the right wing, who dived into the corner to score his side's third try and seal a bonus point. Another conversion from Black pushed the scoreline out to 24-12 in his side's favour.

The Hurricanes did grab a try back - their only points of the last two weeks not to be scored by Barrett - as Reed Prinsep crossed over from close in the final minutes. But Barrett's missed conversion attempt would mean the Hurricanes could hope for a draw at best. 

At the very least though, Prinsep had denied the Blues a bonus point.

With time up on the clock, Black landed one last penalty for the Blues as the full-time siren went, sealing a well-earned victory for the Aucklanders.

The final celebrations of the night were reserved for Blues and All Blacks prop Ofa Tuungafasi, playing his 101st match and the first at Eden Park since notching a century of appearances against the Chiefs last week.

The Blues will now enter their bye week on a high after Saturday's win, while the Hurricanes return home to face the Crusaders in Wellington next Sunday.