Scorching heat was no detriment to the Blues this afternoon who streaked away with six tries to win 40-12 against the Hurricanes in the second of three pre-season matches.
The game, played in Eketahuna, was an even match-up going in to half time, represented by a 7-all scoreline. The Blues once again fielded a mix of older and younger players for the start of the game and responded to the hot conditions by rotating the team throughout the four quarters.
Upon returning to the field after half time, the team scored three tries within 10 minutes with Steven Luatua, Nic Mayhew and Charlie Faumuina each touching down.
Rene Ranger also made sure to put some points on the board in the final 20, while the Hurricanes were able to respond with a try from Julian Savea.
A final try intercept try from Lolagi Visinia on fulltime sealed the team’s victory, 40-12.
Each of the 30 travelling players got game time, with Coach Tana Umaga citing the team’s rotation as having a big impact on the Hurricanes, who came in with some injuries.
“I’d say the score line was more down to freshness than anything, the Hurricanes didn’t have the numbers to field two fresh teams.
And the heat certainly played a factor in each team’s performance, with temperatures reaching more than 30 degrees.
“In the first half and during the first 20 minutes, I think the boys got a bit of a shock,” he said. “But every player performed well, it was a good all-round effort and the guys stuck to their plan.”
“We got the result we needed and we didn’t get any injuries, which was really important to us.”
“I think the players will get a lot of confidence from it, but when it comes to numbers and the score line, we need to remember that it’s just preseason and we still have a couple of weeks before the Highlanders,” said Tana. “So we won’t get carried away with it.”
Blues 40 (James Parsons, Steven Luatua, Nic Mayhew, Charlie Faumuina, Rene Ranger tries; Ihaia West 1 con, Matt McGahan 4 con)
Hurricanes 12 (Leni Apisai, Julian Savea tries; Beauden Barrett 1 con)