Auckland - The Blues staged a stunning comeback in a 35-24 win over the Crusaders on Friday, leaving the seven-time champions at the
foot of the Super Rugby ladder.
The Blues looked down and out as they
trailed 17-3 after 30 minutes but rattled the Crusaders with two tries
either side of half-time to run away with the game and claim a bonus
Both sides were desperate to make amends for disappointing
losses in their opening games but Crusaders captain Kieran Read said his
players failed to maintain their intensity after a good start.
"You've got to keep your foot on the throat when you're up 17-3," he said.
"(The Blues) are a quality side and if you give them opportunities they'll take them."
said while the Crusaders would look to improve their execution against
the Western Stormers next week, they were not hitting the panic button
after failing in their first two games.
"We were in the same position last year, it's important that we rebuild and look towards next week," he said.
Corey Flynn scored the opening try for the Crusaders after 14 minutes,
with Colin Slade adding a second on the 30-minute mark.
Frank Halai and Tevita Li then hit back for the Blues, notching a try
apiece within 90 seconds of each other to change the complexion of the
"A few players had individual moments of brilliance and it
was awesome to get the momentum... we tried to catch the Crusaders off
guard," said Blues fly-half Simon Hickey, who potted six of seven goal
attempts on his Super 15 debut.
George Moala and Jackson Willison
continued the onslaught after half-time in front of an ecstatic Eden
Park crowd, taking the score out to 32-17.
Ryan Crotty pulled a
try back for the Crusaders with nine minutes to go but the lead created
by the Blues' potent backline proved too much.
Tries: Frank Halai, Tevita Li, George Moala, Jackson Willison
Conversions: Simon Hickey (3)
Penalties: Simon Hickey (3)
Tries: Corey Flynn, Colin Slade, Ryan Crotty
Conversions: Tom Taylor (3)
15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 George Moala, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Simon Hickey, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid/Brendon O'Connor, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons, 1 Sam Prattley
Substitutes: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Tony Woodcock, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Liaki Moli, 20 Brendon O'Connor/Jordan Manihera, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Benji Marshall, 23 Pita AhkiCrusaders
15 Colin Slade, 14 Rob Thompson, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Nafi Tuitavake, 10 Tom Taylor, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Richie McCaw, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Tim Perry.
Substitutes: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Matt Todd, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Adam Whitelock, 23 Israel Dagg