Beauden Barrett’s long-awaited homecoming to Wellington didn’t go according to plan as brother Jordie landed a clutch conversion to secure a 29-27 win for the Hurricanes in a classic encounter.
All the hype and pre-match talk surrounded the return of Beauden Barrett to his former home ground and it didn’t take long for the Hurricanes to get one over their former teammate when Ngani Laumape blitzed Barrett on the outside to give the Hurricanes the first try of the match.
Barrett answered back just five minutes later when he sliced through the Hurricanes line to grab a try and put the Blues in front.
Barrett’s try capped off a frantic opening passage which never really stopped as the Hurricanes continued to heap pressure on the Blues in a high-octane first half.
The Hurricanes dominated all the key stats in the first half, apart from the one that counted most – the scoreboard. A Jordie Barrett penalty on the stroke of halftime drew the scores level at 15-15.
Big games like this require big players to step up and two of the Hurricanes biggest names featured in their first try of the second half when halfback TJ Perenara laid on a superb ball to put Dane Coles over.
It was a promising start to the half for the Hurricanes but they couldn’t sustain the momentum as the Blues struck back with tries to Kurt Eklund and Akira Ioane to take a 27-22 lead.
Ngani Laumape was like a man possessed all night long and after another midfield break put the Hurricanes on attack, the score was all tied up when Asafo Aumua burrowed over in the corner.
With time almost up on the clock, Jordie Barrett nailed a sideline conversion to take the two point lead and secure a famous win for the Hurricanes.
The win lifts the Hurricanes to 12 points on the ladder, just one point behind the Blues on 13 points. The Crusaders remain clear at the top of the ladder on 18 points.
Next week, the Hurricanes have the toughest assignment in Super Rugby when they travel south to take on the Crusaders in Christchurch while the Blues host neighbours the Chiefs at Eden Park.
Hurricanes 29 (Ngani Laumape, Reed Prinsep, Dane Coles, Asafo Aumua tries, Jordie Barrett 3 con, pen) Blues 27 (Dalton Papalii, Akira Ioane, Kurt Eklund tries, Beauden Barrett try, con, Otere Black con, pen)