Auckland - Digby Ioane scored a try in the
opening minute of his 50th match as the Reds beat the Blues 23-11 in Super 15 rugby on Friday.
Returning from a
five-week suspension and playing out of position at center, Ioane led
his team onto Eden Park to mark his personal milestone and quickly
scored the try that made it memorable.
Five minutes later,
fullback Luke Morahan scored a second try to give the Reds a 12-0 lead
which was the foundation of their fifth win in nine games.
Blues, who lost for the eighth time in nine matches, trimmed the lead to
15-8 at halftime. But Queensland also started the second half with a
try to consolidate its first win in a Super rugby match in Auckland.
Friday's win will lift the Reds above their current 10th place on the championship table, perhaps as high as seventh.
return from injury or suspension of players such as Ioane and Wallabies
center Anthony Faingaa, who took the field as a second-half
replacement, promised a form improvement from the Reds which may ensure
its title defense still has life.
"It was really important we came
here and got a win," Reds captain James Horwill said. "We really
focused on starting the game on the right note and we did that, scoring
in the first two minutes. Not all of it was perfect but we came with the
"We knew the Blues were going to keep coming at
us," Horwill said. "They kept having a crack and they played very wide
and they tested our defense."
The Blues were again the architects
of their own defeat. Their scrum, which functioned well even without All
Blacks loosehead prop Tony Woodcock, was their only solid feature.
seemed to be lacking in all other basic areas of their game. Horwill
and his Wallaby locking partner Rob Simmons disrupted the Auckland
lineout and Queensland made good use of two specialist openside flankers
to win the contest at the breakdown.
"We're just lacking the detail," Auckland captain Luke Braid said. "We just made those mistakes.
"Set piece ... in the first half we didn't win it and then in the second half the breakdown let us down."
Reds - Tries: Digby Ioane, Luke Morahan, Dom Shipperley; Conversions: Mike Harris; Penalties: Harris (2)
Blues - Tries: Luke Braid; Penalties: Gareth Anscombe (2)