Garrin Lambley - Sport24 Editor
Cape Town - The Blues laid down a marker with a comprehensive defeat of the Reds in their Vodacom Super Rugby clash at Eden Park in Auckland on Friday.
The Blues won 44-14 after leading 20-0 at half-time.AS IT HAPPENED: Blues v Reds
The Blues scored five tries through centre Jackson Willison, wing Lolagi Visinia, scrumhalf Bryn Hall, lock Tom Donnelly and replacement back Ihaia West. Flyhalf Simon Hickey was on target with four conversions as well as three penalties for a personal haul of 17 points, while West converted his own try.
The Reds replied with tries by prop Ben Daley and lock James Horwill. Flyhalf Quade Cooper, playing in his 100th Super Rugby match, added both conversions.
The Blues picked up a full-house of five points for their victory, and, such is the competiveness of the New Zealand Conference, jumped from fifth to second, and into fifth place in the Overall standings.
The Reds left Eden Park empty-handed and remained bottom of the Australian Conference and 13th in the Overall log.
In next weekend's Round 13 action, the Blues travel to New Plymouth for a humdinger of an all-New Zealand clash against the Chiefs (Friday, May 9 at 09:35), while the Reds entertain the Crusaders in Brisbane (Sunday, May 11 at 08:05). Teams:Blues
15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Jackson Willison, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Lolagi Visinia, 10 Simon Hickey, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Jerome Kaino, 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Peter Saili, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Keven Mealamu (captain), 1 Tony Woodcock
Substitutes: 16 James Parsons, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Hayden Triggs, 20 Steven Luatua, 21 Piri Weepu, 22 Ihaia West, 23 George MoalaReds
15 Mike Harris, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Anthony Fainga’a, 11 Rod Davies, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Eddie Quirk, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Saia Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper
Substitutes: 16 James Hanson, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Jono Owen, 19 Ed O’Donoghue, 20 Beau Robinson, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Ben Lucas, 23 Jamie-Jerry Taulagi