Perth - A stunning opening assault from the Blues powered them to a
40-14 win over the Western Force in their Super Rugby clash in Perth on
The Blues produced some of their best rugby of the
season in the opening 20 minutes to shock the Force, who were desperate
to win to keep their finals hopes on track.
However, it was the
visitors that made all the play from the outset to keep their own slim
playoff hopes alive and turn around their poor away form, storming to a
match-winning 26-0 lead on the back of four tries in the first 18
minutes of play.
The carnage started in just the fourth minute,
when Ihaia West took advantage of a great bounce from a chip kick and
ran in the opening try.
West then backed the try with a great conversion to give the Blues the perfect start.
Force haven't beaten the Blues since 2008 and the New Zealanders
doubled their lead in the ninth minute, when Charlie Faumuina stormed
over for a try and West again converted.
Alarm bells were sounding
for the Force, who have been one of the surprise packets of the season,
and they only got louder when the Blues crossed again just three
minutes later, this time through the pace of Lolagi Visinia after some
impressive ball movement.
Although West missed the conversion, it didn't hurt the Blues as Ma'a Nonu added a fourth try in the 18th minute.
Force, missing the impact of Wallaby Nick Cummins who was a late
withdrawal due to a neck injury, did create a couple of opportunities of
their own in the first half.
However, they couldn't capitalise and they were never going to recover from a 26-0 deficit at the break.
comeback was a forlorn hope and it became a mission impossible when the
Blues pushed over under the posts in the 56th minute, with skipper Luke
Braid becoming their fifth tryscorer.
Braid said the Blues were happy to notch a rare win away from home.
"Everyone knows we have struggled away for a year and a bit," he said.
"It was good just to start well, we got into our rhythm."
Force skipper Matt Hodgson said his team paid for their poor opening.
"We missed the start and you can't give a side like the Blues a four-try start," he said.
The Blues picked up five points for their victory and moved to fourth in the New Zealand Conference and eighth overall.
The Force left empty-handed and remained third in the Australian Conference and seventh in the Overall standings.
Tries: Nathan Charles, Brynard Stander
Conversions: Jayden Hayward (2)
Tries: Ihaia West, Charlie Faumuina, Lolagi Visinia, Ma'a Nonu, Luke Baird, Pita Ahki
Conversions: Ihaia West (5)
15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Marcel Brache, 12 Chris Tuatara-Morrison, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Matt Hodgson (captain), 6 Hugh McMeniman, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Sam Wykes, 3 Kieran Longbottom, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pek Cowan
Substitutes: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Oliver Hoskins, 19 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 20 Brynard Stander, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Zack Holmes, 23 Solomoni RasoleaBlues
15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Pita Ahki, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 George Moala, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Jerome Kaino, 7 Luke Braid (captain), 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Patrick Tuipulotu, 4 Tom Donnelly, 3 Charlie Faumuina/ Angus Ta'avao, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock
Substitutes: 16 James Parsons, 17 Angus Ta'avao/ Tom McCartney, 18 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 19 Hayden Triggs, 20 Peter Saili, 21 Piri Weepu, 22 Francis Saili, 23 Tevita Li