Super Rugby

Super Rugby Notebook, Mar 11: Milner-Skudder hurt as Hurricanes break their duck

The Hurricanes recorded their first win of the 2016 Super Rugby season on Friday, but a hard-fought 23-19 triumph over the Blues was marred by a shoulder injury for New Zealand wing Nehe Milner-Skudder.

Two tries from skipper TJ Perenara ensured last year's beaten finalists prevailed in Auckland despite being on the back foot for long periods.

However, the Hurricanes will anxiously await news on the condition of Milner-Skudder, who hurt his left arm in the second half and could face a lengthy lay-off.

In Friday's other match, the Brumbies made it three wins from three with a routine victory over Western Force.

 

THE LOWDOWN

Blues 19-23 Hurricanes

The Hurricanes led 15-8 at the break after soaking up plenty of pressure. George Moala's try got the Blues back within two points, but Perenara crossed again and a valiant late fightback from the hosts proved in vain.

 

Western Force 14-31 Brumbies

Luke Morahan and Ben Tapuai each rounded off excellent moves, but there was little else for the Force to cheer as the Brumbies registered a comfortable win – their four tries coming from skipper Stephen Moore, Matt Toomua, Joe Tomane and Joss Mann-Rea.

 

THE KEY MOMENTS

Perenara's second score was awarded by the television match official despite suspicions of a knock-on from Ardie Savea, while the Blues were denied a try soon after when Tevita Li's score was chalked off for a forward pass.

In Perth, the Force's hopes of overcoming a slow start were severely dented when Tomane evaded four would-be tacklers to touch down with his side already 10 points ahead.

 

THE REACTION

Blues skipper Jerome Kaino was not willing to make excuses for his side's defeat, telling Radio Sport: "We had our chances and it shouldn't have come down to the last five minutes. We fell asleep in the middle part of the game there and against a class side like the Hurricanes you can't do that. We've got ourselves to blame."

Hurricanes skipper Perenara, meanwhile, revelled in his side's defensive effort. "We needed a huge effort from our forwards and you saw at the end there that they stepped up," he told Sky Sport. "When you don't have [much ball] you've got to show some pride in your D."

 

THE UPSHOT

The Brumbies top the standings with 13 points after maintaining their perfect start to the season, while the Force, Hurricanes and Blues all boast five points after three matches.