Blues too strong for Highlanders

Sat, 29 Mar 2014 08:17
Large bryn hall break.jpg630

The Blues scored three tries on their way to a convincing 30-12 victory over the Highlanders at Eden Park on Saturday.

The Blues scored three tries on their way to a convincing 30-12 victory over the Highlanders at Eden Park on Saturday.

It was an efficient display from the Auckland side who kept the visitors tryless to move to the top of the New Zealand conference.

The Highlanders made a strong start to the game, spending the opening exchanges camped in the Blues' 22, but the home team's defence held up well as they managed to keep the visitors out.

Instead it would be the Blues who opened the scoring when left wing George Moala made the most of a good bounce to score in the corner and put his team 7-0 up.

The Highlanders regrouped well and showed good patience as three penalties from Lima Sopoaga saw them take a 9-7 lead after the opening half-hour.

The Blues were back in front soon afterwards when flyhalf Simon Hickey slotted an easy penalty, and they stretched that advantage to 17-9 when Ma'a Nonu forced his way over the tryline after a good break from scrumhalf Bryn Hall.

The Highlanders had an opportunity to hit back just before half-time, but the Blues managed to turn them over to take their eight-point lead into the break.

The home side made a determined start to the second half, driving the Highlanders back into their 22 where Hickey was able kick another penalty, but the Highlanders struck back immediately as Sopoaga landed a long-range kick.

However, it was not long before the Blues crossed the tryline again, with fullback Charles Piutau taking a gap out wide to put his side in firm control with a 27-12 advantage.

They stretched that lead even further with another Hickey penalty, and the only question remaining in the last 20 minutes was whether the Blues would score the bonus-point try.

It was not to be, as the Highlanders held out under some serious pressure at the end, although they did not really threaten to cross the tryline themselves.

Man of the match: Blues No.8 Steven Luatua had a storming game, smashing into the opposition in both defence and attack.

The scorers:

For the Blues:
Tries:
Moala, Nonu, Piutau
Cons: Hickey 3
Pens: Hickey 3

For the Highlanders:
Pens:
Sopoaga 4

Teams:

Blues:
15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Jackson Willison, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 George Moala, 10 Simon Hickey, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Luke Braid (captain), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 James Parsons, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Tom Donnelly, 20 Peter Saili, 21 Sonatane Takulua, 22 Pita Ahki, 23 Benji Marshall.
 
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Richard Buckman, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu (co-captain), 7 Shane Christie, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Jarrad Hoeata, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Chris King, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Kane Hames.
Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Craig Millar, 18 Ma'afu Fia, 19 Joe Wheeler, 20 TJ Ioane, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Hayden Parker, 23 Shaun Treeby.
 
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Nick Briant (New Zealand), Shane McDermott (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 06 May 2016
Crusaders v Reds 07h35 Christchurch
Brumbies v Bulls 09h40 Canberra
Griffons v Eagles 15h00 Welkom
EP Kings v Blue Bulls 16h00 Port Elizabeth
Sat, 07 May 2016
Sunwolves v Force 05h15 Tokyo
Chiefs v Highlanders 07h35 Hamilton
Waratahs v Cheetahs 09h40 Sydney
Leopards v Boland 12h30 Potchefstroom
Griquas v Border 13h00 Kimberley
Sharks v Hurricanes 13h00 Durban
Pumas v Namibia 13h00 Mpumalanga
Golden Lions v Free State Cheetahs 13h00 Randburg
Wasps v London Irish 14h30 Ricoh Arena
Worcester Warriors v Saracens 14h30 Sixways
Bath v Leicester Tigers 14h30 Recreation Ground
Gloucester v Northampton Saints 14h30 Kingsholm
Harlequins v Exeter Chiefs 14h30 Twickenham
Newcastle Falcons v Sale Sharks 14h30 Kingston Park
Zebre v Dragons 15h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Munster v Scarlets 15h00 Thomond Park
Ospreys v Ulster 15h00 Liberty Stadium
Connacht v Glasgow Warriors 15h00 Sportsground
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 15h00 BT Murrayfield
Leinster v Treviso 15h00 RDS
Kings v Blues 15h05 Port Elizabeth
Sharks v Western Province 15h30 Durban
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Rebels 9 5 0 4 23
Brumbies 9 5 0 4 21
Waratahs 8 4 0 4 21
Reds 9 2 1 6 12
Force 9 1 0 8 6
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Chiefs 9 8 0 1 37
Crusaders 8 7 0 1 32
Hurricanes 9 6 0 3 31
Highlanders 9 6 0 3 28
Blues 8 4 1 3 20
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 9 6 0 3 29
Bulls 8 6 1 1 28
Cheetahs 9 2 0 7 12
Sunwolves 8 1 0 7 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 9 6 0 3 27
Sharks 9 4 1 4 23
Jaguares 8 1 0 7 7
Kings 7 1 0 6 4