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Hurricanes beaten

The Hurricanes' hopes of securing a Super Rugby wild card place suffered a blow as they were beaten 37-24 by the Blues.

Lolagi Visinia, Jerome Kaino, George Moala and Patrick Tuipulotu went over for the Blues, who were also awarded a controversial penalty try, with Ihaia West booting 12 points.

Faifili Levave scored two tries for the Highlanders, with Julian and Ardie Savea also crossing and Beauden Barrett adding two conversions.

The Hurricanes could have felt hard done by when the Blues were awarded their penalty try in the first half and full-back Matt Proctor was sent to the sin bin.

The Blues had been attacking well after good work by Ma'a Nonu, Kaino and Pita Ahki when Proctor went to intercept a Nonu offload. TMO Glenn Newman adjudged it had been deliberately knocked on and as he was the last man on defence awarded the Blues a penalty try.

The harsh decision proved to be a costly one for the Hurricanes as, while the full-back was on the sidelines, Visinia scored in the corner after Ahki stabbed a kick in behind the defence.

Prior to the penalty try decision the Hurricanes had been in front thanks to an excellent lineout drive which resulted in Levave's first try.

But they were their own worst enemy once Proctor returned. Sloppy passing, poor handling and the inability to get across the gain line meant they could not turn their territorial and possession advantage into points and they were 15-7 down at the break.

The Blues defence was excellent with Luke Braid making several crucial tackles and Kaino and Charlie Faumuina regularly stopping the opposition in their tracks.

The Blues looked more dangerous with ball in hand too and two tries in three minutes early in the second half put the game beyond the Hurricanes' reach.

Kaino showed immense strength to force his way over in the 43rd minute and then Moala sold Barrett a dummy to go over untouched.

The Hurricanes clawed one back through Julian Savea midway through the second half, but that was quickly cancelled out when Tuipulotu burrowed over.

Ardie Savea then scrambled his way over the try-line for the Hurricanes' third try and they grabbed a consolation four-try bonus point with a second five-pointer for Levave in the dying minutes.

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