Australia's trans-Tasman misery continues
SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The Blues recorded only their third win of the season when they narrowly beat the Waratahs 24-21 at the Brookvale Oval on Saturday.
The Waratahs outscored their opponents by three tries to two, but 14 points off the boot of Stephen Perofeta gave the Blues the edge in the end.
The result means that it is the 38th straight defeat by Australia's Super Rugby sides against New Zealand opposition.
The Waratahs had the early attacking possession, but it was deja vu as their own mistakes proved their greatest obstacles to scoring.
It was a Waratahs mistake that opened up the first opportunity for the Blues, some dangerous passes putting the Tahs under pressure deep in their own territory, and the Auckland side pounced through Rieko Ioane.
The Blues continued to pepper the Waratahs' defence and rookie Stephen Perofeta stretched their lead, with a penalty in the 18th minute
A dangerous tackle from Dalton Papalii on Cameron Clark gave the Waratahs a one-man advantage five metres out from the Blues line and they immediately took the chance, with a driving maul try to Damien Fitzpatrick.
The Tahs put themselves under unnecessary pressure despite their extra man, slipping off tackles as the Blues put in another score through Tumua Manu.
Tighthead Sekope Kepu was a surprise tryscorer in open play, finishing off a chain of attack, with a pick and go at the right edge, to narrow the gap to just one point, before a Blues penalty made it three points at the break.
The Waratahs had had 75 percent territory up until the 60-minute mark, but it was the Blues who broke the second-half duck, with another Perofeta penalty - making it a seven-point gap.
From there, the Blues looked at the sticks whenever they could, with Perofeta adding another three-pointer to keep the game at arm's length.
Captain Michael Hooper put the Waratahs back in it, running onto an inside ball from Kurtley Beale and slipping through a gap to narrow the margin to three with 10 minutes to go.
The Waratahs had the momentum and a marathon chain of attacking phases ended in an ambitious Beale cross-kick, that just went through Folau's fingers, snuffing out their chances of scoring.
Man of the match: Stephen Perofeta proved to be the difference between the two teams in the end with his accurate boot.
Tries: Fitzpatrick, Kepu, Hooper
Cons: Foley 3
Tries: R Ioane, Manu
Pens: Perofeta 4
Yellow card: Dalton Papalii (Blues, 24 - Dangerous play, high tackle)
Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Cameron 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.
Replacements: 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.
Blues: 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.
Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Mike Tamoaieta, 19 Lyndon Dunshea, 20 Murphy Taramai, 21 Jonathan Ruru, 22 Dan Kirkpatrick, 23 Terrence Hepetema.
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner, Will Houston
TMO: George Ayoub