Planet Rugby

Blues get the job done

13th March 2009 08:25


Michael Hobbs v Cheetahs

Jimmy Gopperth launches another Blues attack

The Blues cruised to a bonus-point 46-12 win over the Cheetahs in Albany on Friday, running in the all-important fourth try shortly after half-time and rarely moving out of third gear.

The Cheetahs were worryingly devoid of spirit early on, giving the hosts ample opportunity to get a grip on the game. Anthony Tuitavake scored the first try after four minutes, Wayne van Heerden was yellow-carded for preventing a certain try with an off-the-ball tackle two minutes later, and when Chris Lowrey finished off an annihilation of the Cheeahs scrum with 15 minutes gone, the game was up.

This was the worst day yet at the office for the visitors. Cumulative weeks of physical abrasion from opposition runners have obviously taken their toll on the plauers' psyche, but there is a level of tackling that is acceptable in defeat and the Cheetahs were nowhere near it.

At the end, they did rally a little, maybe even ending unfortunate not to have notched four tries in defeat but at some point the players need to see that a vain late rally is not enough.

The Blues, predictably, opened up the game as much as possible and reaped the rewards, irrespective of how easy their guests made it for them.

The first try was a direct result of that, with Taniela Moa tapping and going from a free-kick, Chris Lowrey brushing off limp tackles out right and Tuitavake going over unmarked from an inside pass. The speed of the move caught the Cheetahs entirely unawares, which should not happen early on.

Neither should the dreadful positioning of Jongi Nokwe, which allowed Jimmy Gopperth to fire a long-range kick into the right-hand corner and launch the next attack.

At that attack, Wayne van Heerden prevented a certain try by tackling Jerome Kaino long before the breaking Michael Hobbs had offloaded to him, earning van Heerden a yellow card and Gopperth three points.

Further punishment cam on 15 minutes, when the Blues scrum drove the Cheetahs off their own ball and Lowrey picked up the loose ball on Van Heerden's blind side to motor home in the corner. An excellent Gopperth conversion made it 17-0; Cheetahs heads dropped.

It got little better. Rene Ranger's running from the back kept the Cheetahs cautious with the boot. Isaia Toeava nearly broke away but just couldn't find Ranger with a scoring pass. Ali Williams intercepted an offload but Danwel Demas managed to backtrack and catch the lock before he made it to the line.

The Cheetahs did get their hands on more ball leading up to the break and scored an excellent try, switching the direction of play inside for David de Villiers to bust the line and set up Corne Uys for the score.

Gopperth made it 20-7 at the break with his second penalty.

After the break there was only one side in it. Gopperth and Hobbs combined to send Toeava over, once again through some sloppy tackling. Moa nipped home from a 5m scrum for the bonus point try.

Sarel Pretorius was unlucky to have a scoring attempt ruled out for being in touch in-goal, and Fabien Juries should have scored off a chip and chase but for a sloppy attempt at touching the ball down, not aided by Demas' run into his path as he went for the ball.

The rain disrupted proceedings for a while - probably saving the Cheetahs a real hiding - it took another 20 minutes for the Blues to score again when Jamie Helleur broke the line on a straight angle.

Five minutes later Chris Smylie scored the Blues' sixth, before Kabamba Floors won a modicum of pride for the Cheetahs in the final move of the game. A modicum only. They'll be desperate to get home.

Man of the match: Chris Lowrey never stopped running and got plenty of ball to run with as a result, playing a part in most of his team's moves.

The scorers:

For the Blues:

Tries: Tuitavake, Lowrey, Toeava, Moa, Helleur, Smylie

Cons: Gopperth 5

Pens: Gopperth 2

For the Cheetahs:

Tries: Uys, Floors

Con: Potgieter

Yellow cards: Van Heerden (7, Cheetahs, professional foul), Haiu (52, Blues, dangerous tackle)

Blues: 15 Isaia Toeava, 14 Rene Ranger, 13 Anthony Tuitavake, 12 Michael Hobbs, 11 Joe Rokocoko, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Taniela Moa, 8 Jerome Kaino, 7 Onosa'i Auva'a, 6 Chris Lowrey, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Kurtis Haiu, 3 John Afoa, 2 Keven Mealamu (c), 1 Tony Woodcock.

Replacements: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Tevita Mailau, 18 Jay Williams, 19 Onosai'I Auva'a, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 Jamie Helleur, 22 Winston Stanley.

Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Danwel Demas, 13 Corne Uys, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Jongi Nokwe, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Tewis de Bruyn, 8 Hendro Scholtz (c), 7 Wayne van Heerden, 6 Heinrich Brussouw, 5 David de Villiers, 4 Nico Breedt, 3 Bees Roux, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Wian du Preez .

Replacements: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Kobus Calldo, 18 Francois Uys, 19 Kabamba Floors, 20 Sarel Pretorius, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Fabian Juries.

Referee: Keith Brown (New Zealand)

Touch judges: Chris Pollock (New Zealand), Garratt Williamson (New Zealand)

Television match official: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)

Assessor: Glenn Wahlstrom (New Zealand)

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