Blues grab back-to-back wins in Australia

Sat, 06 May 2017 10:40
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SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The Blues bagged their second-straight win in Australia when they beat the Waratahs 40-33 in Sydney on Saturday.

Wing Rieko Ioane scored a double, while his brother and No.8 Akira scored as well as the Blues won back-to-back matches for the first time since 2013 to stave off the Waratahs.

It was also four consecutive wins for the Blues in Australia ending a 14-year drought.

The Blues led 26-0 at half-time, but the Waratahs surged home with a five-try second half, with Wallaby back Israel Folau nabbing a double, to go down with all guns blazing.

The Waratahs, who outscored the Blues five tries to four and 33-14 in the second half, lost at home for the fourth straight time for the first time since 1999.

The difference was the goalkicking of Auckland's English flyhalf Piers Francis, who contributed 20 points from four conversions and four penalty goals.

Despite lying at the bottom of the powerful New Zealand conference, the Blues extended the Kiwi dominance over Australian opposition to 17-0 in trans-Tasman encounters this season.

"The second half wasn't as sharp as we would have liked and they came out with heaps of energy in the second half and we knew it was coming," Blues skipper James Parsons said.

"We kept it simple in the first half, kept it in the forwards, we did well in the scrums and line-outs to give us a platform to play off and we took the points when we had the opportunities.

"We were really pleased with that. We set ourselves up and we were lucky we did to be honest because we needed those points with the way we played in the second half."

Folau broke the longest try-scoring drought of his five-year Super Rugby career with his second-half double.

The Waratahs, Super Rugby winners three years ago, are four points adrift of the Brumbies in the underwhelming Australian conference.

"Our discipline was poor in the first half and yet again we showed great fight, but not enough, two different 40-minutes there, it's frustrating," Waratahs skipper Michael Hooper said.

The Waratahs finished with a flurry, claiming a losing bonus point after late tries to Bernard Foley (69th minute), Folau and prop Paddy Ryan at the death.

Man of the match: Rieko and Akira Ioane impressed with their performances on the field. The brothers crossed the whitewash, with Rieko scoring two tries and Akira once.

The scorers:

For Waratahs:
Tries: Folau 2, Latu, Foley, Ryan
Cons: Foley 4

For Blues: 
Tries: R Ioane 2, Scrafton, A Ioane
Cons: Francis 4
Pens: Francis 4

Teams:

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Reece Robinson, 13 Rob Horne, 12 David Horwitz, 11 Cam Clark, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Jed Holloway, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 David McDuling, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Tom Robertson.
Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Michael Wells, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Irae Simone.

Blues: 15 Michael Collins, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 George Moala, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Piers Francis, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Leighton Price, 20 Murphy Taramai, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 Melani Nanai.

Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Will Houston (Australia), Graham Cooper (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

AFP

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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 11 4 0 7 23
Waratahs 11 4 0 7 19
Reds 11 3 0 8 16
Force 11 3 0 8 13
Rebels 11 1 1 9 8
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 12 12 0 0 54
Hurricanes 11 9 0 2 43
Chiefs 11 9 0 2 43
Highlanders 12 9 0 3 41
Blues 12 6 0 6 31
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 11 7 0 4 30
Bulls 11 3 0 8 15
Cheetahs 12 2 0 10 11
Sunwolves 11 1 0 10 7
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 12 11 0 1 51
Sharks 12 8 1 3 38
Jaguares 11 5 0 6 24
Kings 11 4 0 7 19