What makes the Blues and Hurricanes ‘benchmark’ Super Rugby teams

FORMER Wallaby Morgan Torinoi believes the Blues will go on to win Super Rugby Pacific this season after they beat the Hurricanes 31-27 on Saturday in a potential preview of what “we'll see in the final”.

With the top two teams in the competition going head-to-head in the regular season, the winner will not only take first place, but will go a long way to securing home-field advantage through the playoffs.

The Blues, cheered on by their fans at Auckland's Eden Park, fired in a shot and Bryce Hemme scored in the first five minutes to cap off a dominant start for the hosts.

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But the Hurricanes struck back through Brad Shields soon after, setting the tone for an enthralling battle. Both teams scored tries in both halves and the difference in the end was Harry Plummer's accuracy from the tee to kick the goal.

The men from the nation's capital had the chance to steal it at the death, but substitute full-back Sam Nock was the hero for the Blues as they held on for a four-point win. They are now in first place on the ladder with only three games remaining before the finals.

“You don't say 'test match'… but it was a standard rugby match. Maybe that's what we'll see in the final,” Torino said. Stan Sports between two jobs.

“Kane's team could have won, and he probably thinks they should have won.

“Look at the quality that played well all over the pitch.

“If you were any other team in the competition, including the other top 10 teams including Chiefs and Brumbies, you would think well that's the level we're going to have to get to if we want to upset them.”

the summary of the match

There appears to be little light between the quartet of Blues, Hurricanes, Act Brumbies and Chiefs, and then the rest of the competition, on the back of excellent work within the forwards.

Not only are their set pieces sound, but all four of these teams score long-range attempts. Players dig from the downside to get through decisive results week after week.

Panelist Stephen Howells, who played for the Wallabies and won a Super Rugby title with the Waratahs, explained in depth for almost a minute the importance of this “precision”.

Torinoi then echoed those remarks by adding what “these top teams do for 80 minutes” makes them a force to be reckoned with in Super Rugby Pacific.

“Details in the match from both teams,” Torino began to explain. “Everyone has a three-man shape with their forwards, (but) their runners are able to either find a weak shoulder or space but also get to the fourth or fifth defender.

“If you're the first striker and you're opposite the third defender and you step in because of pressure, you're not doing anything for your team. It's just another phase – you don't make the defenders move at all.

“Their clan is profound, so cleaning beyond this legal standard might make it difficult to fold.

“Their work in the attacking breakdown to cut the corner, not going around the tackling contest and not going straight in from the back… all those little things and the breakdown has never been more important in Super Rugby.”


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