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Hurricanes batter Brumbies to go top

A FIRST-HALF four-try blitz propelled the Wellington Hurricanes to a 56-7 victory over the ACT Brumbies at Westpac Stadium and temporarily to the top of the Super 14 standings yesterday.

After commemorating Anzac Day with the match ball being delivered by an Air Force helicopter and an artillery gun firing two ceremonial shots into the cool Wellington night sky, the Hurricanes recovered from an early try to Brumbies prop Ben Alexander to blow the Australian team away.

Fullback Cory Jane, center Conrad Smith and wingers Tamati Ellison and David Smith all scored within the first 30 minutes to give the home side a bonus point before the break.

The Hurricanes moved to the head of the table with 34 points, though the second-placed Waikato Chiefs (31) were playing the fifth-placed Bulls (29) later in the day.

"We were pretty happy with the way the game went apart from the first couple of minutes which were pretty scrappy," Hurricanes captain Rodney So'oialo said. "We let them score an early try but we wanted a big game and we managed to produce it."

In Albany, New Zealand, the lights dimmed on the Auckland Blues' campaign when they were beaten 24-31 by the Queensland Reds in a match interrupted by a blackout.

A power failure at an electricity substation caused the lights on two of the four lighting towers at the stadium on Auckland's North Shore to go out in the third minute and it was 45 minutes before play resumed.

The Blues appeared to be suffering from a lack of spark after the enforced break and the Reds quickly charged into an imposing lead on the back of tries from Berrick Barnes and James Horwill.

Barnes converted both to add to his penalty from before the lighting failed, giving the visitors a 17-0 advantage they never looked like relinquishing.

The Blues had almost 60 percent possession in the first spell but only got on the board a minute before the break when Isaia Toeava ran over.

The Reds extended their lead to 31-5 after some 10 minutes of the second half courtesy of tries from center Digby Ioane and replacement winger Charlie Fetoai, both of which Barnes converted.

The Blues rallied in the final 30 minutes to score tries through replacement loose forward Peter Saili and lock Kurtis Haiu before Jimmy Gopperth crossed in stoppage time.

Gopperth added two conversions to give the Blues a second bonus point for a tally of 30 points for the season.


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