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Canes, Blues secure bonus-point wins

The Hurricanes and Blues have confirmed their places in the Super Rugby Pacific quarterfinals with comfortable wins on Friday night.

The Canes bounced back from their first defeat of the season to defeat the NSW Waratahs 41-12 at Wellington's Sky Stadium, while the Blues kept pace at the top of the table with a 38-11 victory over the Melbourne Rebels at AAMI Park.

The Hurricanes dominated, leading 26-0 at halftime, before wing Salesi Rayasi came off the bench for a second-half double and replacement halfback TJ Perenara finished it off by becoming Super Rugby's leading try-scorer with his 63rd in added-time.

Perenara picked up from the base of a goal-line ruck and lunged over before Waratahs defenders could react, separating himself from former Canes teammate Julian Savea atop the all-time tries list.

Stinging from a first loss of the season last week to the ACT Brumbies, the Hurricanes came out firing.

First-half tries to centre Billy Proctor, first-five Brett Cameron, wing Joshua Moorby and No.8 Brayden Iose earned the hosts a virtually unbeatable 26-0 lead at the break.

Hurricanes Super Rugby Pacific rugby
The Hurricanes ran in seven tries against the NSW Waratahs. PHOTO: SUPER RUGBY

A try-scoring double from electric replacement Rayasi put the issue beyond doubt, despite late second-half tries from Waratahs duo Hugh Sinclair and Vuate Karawalevu.

One concern for the Canes was the goal-kicking of Cameron, who converted just three-of-seven tries.

An eighth loss of the season leaves the Waratahs languishing in second-last spot on the ladder and needing to string wins together in the closing rounds to have any chance to scrape into the top-eight.

Up next, the Hurricanes (9-0-1, 42 points) face the Blues (9-0-1, 41 points) at Eden Park next Saturday (kick-off 4.35pm), while the Waratahs (2-0-8, 12 points) host the Brumbies (7-0-2, 31 points later that day (kick-off 9.35pm NZ Time).

The Blues ran away with the game in the last 20 minutes in the bonus-point win, which saw wing Mark Tele'a and reserve lock Sam Darry score doubles.

However, it came at a cost, losing Reiko Ioane to a head knock just before halftime, with the All Blacks centre uncertain for next week's showdown with the Canes.

Darry came on and scored a double to blow out the scoreline, with the Blues surviving a late yellow card to first-five Harry Plummer.

The class difference proved far greater than the standings might suggest, with the Blues running in five tries to one.

The Rebels matched the Blues and judging by statistics midway through the second half, should have been on top. But the visitors' ability to take advantage of their opportunities and rock-solid defence proved the difference, delivering an emphatic win in the end, helped by two late tries.

Hurricanes 41 (Billy Proctor, Brett Cameron, Josh Moorby, Brayden Iose, Salesi Rayasi 2, TJ Perenara tries; Brett Cameron 3 con) NSW Waratahs 12 (Vuate Karawalevu, Hugh Sinclair tries; Tane Edmed con). HT: 26-0

Blues 38 (Mark Tele'a 2, PJ Sheck, Patrick Tuipulotu, Sam Darry 2; Harry Plummer 4 con) Melbourne Rebels 11 (Ryan Louwrens try; Carter Gordon 2 pen). HT: 12-11


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