Cape Town - The Blues returned to
the victory trail when they claimed a 24-21 win over the Waratahs in their
Super Rugby clash in Sydney on Saturday.
The men from Auckland had to dig deep for this win as the
Waratahs outscored them three tries to two, but the home side will be kicking
themselves as they committed a plethora of unforced errors which proved the
difference between the sides in the end.
The result, once again, highlights the difference in class
between teams from the trans-Tasman countries as New Zealand sides have now won
38 consecutive matches against their counterparts from Australia with the last
Australian triumph registered in Round 14 of 2016 when the Waratahs beat the
This was only the Blues' third victory of the season although
they still occupy bottom place in the New Zealand Conference standings while
the Waratahs are still in first place on the Australian Conference table.
The Blues had the better of the early exchanges and opened the
scoring in the seventh minute when Rieko Ioane dotted down thanks to superb
attacking play after Israel Folau faileds to clear a kick-through from
Stephen Perofeta slotted the conversion and made it 10-0 to the
visitors when he added a penalty midway through the half after Will Miller was
blown up for obstruction.
The visitors were dealt a blow in the 24th minute, however, when
Dalton Papalii was yellow carded for a high tackle on Cam Clark deep inside the
The home side put the resulting penalty into touch, on the
Blues' five-metre line, and were rewarded when Damien Fitzpatrick scored their
first try off the back of the lineout drive.
Bernard Foley added the extras but despite holding a narrow 10-7
lead and having a man in the sin bin, the men from Auckland stayed true to
their attacking roots and were rewarded when Tumua Manu crossed for their
second try on the half-hour mark.
This, after Perofeta made an impressive line break before
offloading to Matt Duffie, close to the Waratahs' 10-metre line, and he was
soon inside his opponents' 22 where he offloaded to Manu, who stepped past a
couple of defenders before diving over in the right-hand corner.
The hosts did not take that lying down and struck back shortly
afterwards when Sekope Kepu went over for their second try from close quarters
after his forwards did well by setting up several phases in the build-up.
Foley slotted the conversion but Perofeta added a penalty in the
39th minute which meant the Blues led 18-14 at half-time.
The Waratahs made the brighter start to the second half but
despite spending the early part of the half camped inside the Blues' half, they
committed several mistakes on attack which gifted the ball to the Blues.
The Blues eventually extended their lead in the 62nd minute
courtesy of another Perofeta penalty, after the Waratahs went offside on
defence, and the pivot made it 24-14 five minutes later when he succeeded with
another shot at goal.
The Waratahs needed a response and that came in the 71st minute
when Michael Hooper ran onto a pass from Kurtley Beale before beating a
defender inside the Blues' 22 on his way over the try-line.
That set up a tense finish and although the Waratahs were camped
inside the Blues half during the game's closing stages, the visitors held on
for the win.
Waratahs 21 (14)
Tries: Damien Fitzpatrick, Sekope Kepu, Michael Hooper
Conversions: Bernard Foley (3)
Blues 24 (18)
Tries: Rieko Ioane, Tumua Manu
Conversion: Stephen Perofeta
Penalties: Perofeta (4)
15 Israel Folau, 14 Cam Clark, 13 Lalakai Foketi, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Will Miller, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Ned Hanigan, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson
Substitutes: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Jed Holloway, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Curtis Rona, 23 Bryce Hegarty
15 Matt Duffie, 14 Tumua Manu, 13 Orbyn Leger, 12 Rieko Ioane, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Stephen Perofeta, 9 Augustine Pulu (captain), 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Sione Mafileo, 2 James Parsons, 1 Ross Wright
Subtitutes: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Mike Tamoaieta, 19 Lyndon Dunshea, 20 Murphy Taramai, 21 Jonathan Ruru, 22 Dan Kirkpatrick, 23 Terrence Hepetema