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)

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 07h35 Dunedin
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 18h05 Cardiff
Edinburgh v Dragons 18h35 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 RDS Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
Treviso v Edinburgh 21 | 6
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 17
Reds 8 2 0 6 10
Force 7 2 0 5 9
Waratahs 8 2 0 6 9
Rebels 7 1 1 5 7
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 8 0 0 36
Hurricanes 8 7 0 1 33
Chiefs 8 7 0 1 33
Highlanders 8 5 0 3 23
Blues 8 3 0 5 17
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 8 6 0 2 26
Bulls 8 3 0 5 14
Cheetahs 8 2 0 6 10
Sunwolves 8 1 0 7 5
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 8 7 0 1 32
Sharks 8 5 1 2 24
Jaguares 8 4 0 4 20
Kings 8 2 0 6 10