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Hurricanes thrash Highlanders; Blues win


The Hurricanes rolled to six straight victories to open the Super Rugby Pacific season but the latest win may have come at a big cost.


All Blacks halfback Cam Roigard suffered a potential season-ending knee injury in the second half of the Canes' 47-12 domination of the Highlanders at Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday night.


Roigard, who was expected to take over from retired Aaron Smith in the ABs No 9 jersey, went down with a suspected dislocated kneecap. Further tests on Monday will reveal the extent of the injury.


The lively halfback scored before halfback to put the Hurricanes up 26-0, after prop Xavier Numia, loose forward Peter Lakai and hooker Asafo Aumua had scored earlier five-pointers.


Roigard also made a burst in the 10th minute that resulted in Highlanders fullback Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens being yellow-carded at the next ruck and ultimate Numia's opening try.


Hurricanes rugby
The Hurricanes scored seven tries in their 47-12 domination of the Highlanders. PHOTO: SUPER RUGBY

Any visions the Highlanders had of a comeback in the second half were immediately dismissed when Josh Moorby picked off Rhys Patchell's pass and sprinted 50m to make it 33 unanswered points.


The Highlanders finally got on the board minutes later when Folau Fakatava darted over under the posts, before TJ Perenara, who replaced Roigard in the 58th minute, crossed to restore the big lead.


A quick-tap and run from Billy Harmon helped set up a try for Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens in the 76th minute, but the Hurricanes had the final say when replacement lock Justin Sangster grabbed an intercept and marched 20m to score.


The victory improved the Canes' record to 6-0-0, moving to 27 points, five ahead of the Blues and ACT Brumbies.


The Hurricanes and Highlanders, at 2-0-4 and barely holding onto a top-eight spot, both sit out Round 7 with byes.



Earlier in the day, the Blues dominated Moana Pasifika in the Battle of Auckland, with All Blacks wing Mark Tele'a scoring a hat-trick in the 47-8 rout.


It was a unique situation for the Blues as the away team at Eden Park but they looked comfortable as they dismantled former coach Tana Umaga’s side.


The onslaught started in the 12th minute when wing Tele’a crossed, before first-five Stephen Perofeta strolled over the line through some soft defence.


The Blues continued to roll when wing Caleb Clarke sprinted away for their third try of the afternoon after Hoskins Sotutu broke the line. Bryce Heem made it three tries in 12 minutes as the hosts had little answer.


Sione Havili Talitui crossed just before the break to give Moana some hope before the Blues ran away with the match in the second half.


Finlay Christie
Blues halfback Finlay Christie runs away for one of the Blues' three tries. PHOTO: SUPER RUGBY

It started in the 58th minute when halfback Finlay Christie backed up a promising raid from Cole Forbes before Tele’a got his second.


The wing capped off the win with his third as Sotutu put him over to seal the dominant win.


The victory lifted the Blues to 5-0-1 and 22 points, above the Chiefs and temporarily into the top spot before the Hurricanes and Brumbies played later on Saturday.


In Round 7, the Blues host the Western Force at Eden Park on Friday (kick-off 7.05pm), while Moana Pasifika head to Hamilton to face the Chiefs at FMG Stadium Waikato on Saturday (kick-off 7.05pm).


Hurricanes 47 (Xavier Numia, Peter Lakai, Asafo Aumua, Cam Roigard, Josh Moorby, TJ Perenara, Justin Sangster tries; Brett Cameron 4 con, Jordie Barrett 2 con) Highlanders 12 (Folau Fakatava, Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens tries; Sam Gilbert con). HT: 26-0


Blues 47 (Mark Tele'a 3, Stephen Perofeta, Caleb Clarke, Bryce Heem, Finlay Christie tries; Stephen Perofeta 6 con) Moana Pasifika 8 (Sione Havili-Talitui try; Christian Leali'ifano pen). HT: 28-8

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