Planet Rugby

Blues lose disrupted match

25th April 2009 09:26

Share:

Blues v Reds stock

Try time: James Horwill scores the Reds' second

The Blues have suffered a costly loss, going down 31-24 to the Reds in the Super 14 in Albany on Saturday.

It was one of the darker hours of Super Rugby. Literally. The weather did its best to wreck the game before the kick off, with howling wind and pelting rain hammering away at the stadium, but the hardy souls in the stands and the playing jerseys still did their stuff.

Four minutes in, the lights went out at one end. Referee Vinny Munro consulted with the captains and tried to carry on but after a serious knee injury to Chris Lowrey - not related to the gloom - the players changed their minds.

All sat for a good 50 minutes as the stadium organisers furiously tried to find a solution to the problem. When they did so, play resumed. All those staunch enough to have hung around had their patience further tested initially, but the game did eventually come to life.

The wet and the wind, which was directly behind the visitors in the first half, made coherent rugby difficult. Certainly the Reds were happy to use the boot to keep the Blues pegged in their own half and then run it from there. It worked, as the Blues set pieces were distinctly ordinary.

Berrick Barnes, a class apart from the other 29 players on show, landed a penalty before the power cut for a 3-0 lead and scored an excellent try on the half hour mark. His quick hands took the ball out to Mark McLinden who broke through, cut inside and found Barnes inside for a slide home on the greasy turf.

Barnes converted, and it was his play-breaking passing that nearly led to a second try, spoiled only by Quade Cooper's inability to imitate his centre's quick hands. Cooper looks thoroughly out of sorts at the moment.

Eventually the Reds did notch a second, when James Horwill crashed over from close range. Barnes converted again for a 17-0 lead, a big lead even with the wind.

But right on the stroke of half-time Isaia Toeava took the ball in the middle and powered through to make it 17-5, contriving to test his coaches' patience further with an appalling attempt at a conversion.

The Blues played copycat in the second half, kicking downfield as much as possible, but failing to chase with either the shape or the precision of their guests.

Cooper briefly found his mojo to spark a terrific counter attack which went through nine pairs of hands - Barnes once again the catalyst halfway through - for Digby Ioane to go in under the posts.

Two minutes later, Cooper and Anthony Faingaa combined through some pathetic Blues tackling to send the latter home and seal the contest, Barnes having converted both for an astonishing 31-5 scoreline.

The Blues stepped it up, and heavy pressure yielded a try for Peter Saili which Jimmy Gopperth converted. Five minutes later Kurtis Haiu made right one of several wrongs from earlier in the game by plunging over for a close-range try. 31-17, and still ten left to play.

Another nasty-looking knee injury, this one to Josh Blackie, saw the Blues' fightback rhythm disrupted, but there was still time for Jimmy Gopperth to grab one bonus point with the try and another with the conversion.

Man of the match: Berrick Barnes. On a different level to the others all game.

The scorers:

For the Blues:

Tries: Toeava, Saili, Haiu, Gopperth

Cons: Gopperth 2

For the Reds:

Tries: Barnes, Horwill, Ioane, Faingaa

Cons: Barnes 4

Pens: Barnes

Blues: 15 Paul Williams, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Anthony Tuitavake, 12 Isaia Toeava, 11 Rudi Wulf, 10 Tasesa Lavea, 9 Taniela Moa, 8 Chris Lowrey, 7 Josh Blackie, 6 Justin Collins (c), 5 Anthony Boric, 4 Kurtis Haiu, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Tony Woodcock.

Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Tevita Mailau, 18 Ali Williams, 19 Jerome Kaino, 20 Grayson Hart, 21 Jimmy Gopperth, 22 Michael Hobbs.

Reds: 15 Mark McLinden, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Digby Ioane, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Brando Va'aulu, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Ezra Taylor, 7 Poutasi Luafutu, 6 Hugh McMeniman, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Van Humphries, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Sean Hardman, 1 Greg Holmes.

Replacements: 16 Saia Faingaa, 17 Jack Kennedy, 18 Adam Byrnes, 19 Scott Higginbotham, 20 Ben Lucas, 21 Charlie Fetoai, 22 Anthony Faingaa.

Referee: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)

Touch judges: Chris Pollock (New Zealand), Jonathan White (New Zealand)

TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand vs AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Preview
Argentina vs South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Preview
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse vs CastresToulouse vs Castres Preview
Saturday , August 23
Brive vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Toulon vs La Rochelle18:30
Bayonne vs Oyonnax18:30
Bordeaux-Begles vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Montpellier vs GrenobleMontpellier vs Grenoble Preview
Stade Francais vs Lyon20:45
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne vs Montpellier20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , August 23
Blue Bulls vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
Western Province vs Lions17:05
Sharks vs Cheetahs19:10
Friday , August 29
Pumas vs Sharks19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Saturday , August 23
Northland vs WellingtonNorthland vs Wellington Preview
Counties Manukau vs OtagoCounties Manukau vs Otago Preview
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu vs AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Preview
Bay Of Plenty vs TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Preview
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato vs Taranaki19:35
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury vs Northland19:35
Friday , August 29
Wellington vs Manawatu09:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Currie Cup
Friday , August 22
Pumas 33 - 15 GriquasPumas vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 27 - 58 CanterburyWaikato vs Canterbury Report
Hawkes Bay 29 - 26 TaranakiHawkes Bay vs Taranaki Report
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour 21 - 25 Southland
Sunday , August 17
Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
Northland 23 - 28 Manawatu
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 16
Australia 12 - 12 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
South Africa 13 - 6 ArgentinaSouth Africa vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 30 - 26 GrenobleClermont Auvergne vs Grenoble Report
Montpellier 16 - 19 Racing Metro ParisMontpellier vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Brive 37 - 15 La Rochelle
Castres 22 - 25 Stade Francais
Bordeaux-Begles 18 - 9 Lyon
Toulouse 20 - 19 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Lions 60 - 19 Eastern Province KingsLions vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Western Province 41 - 17 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
Cheetahs 34 - 27 GriquasCheetahs vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Otago 28 - 14 North Harbour
Wellington 25 - 37 WaikatoWellington vs Waikato Report
Canterbury 48 - 9 AucklandCanterbury vs Auckland Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 15
Bayonne 15 - 29 ToulonBayonne vs Toulon Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 34 - 17 PumasSharks vs Pumas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Southland 34 - 23 Bay Of Plenty
Thursday , August 14
Taranaki 9 - 9 Counties ManukauTaranaki vs Counties Manukau Report
More ITM Cup results
Currie Cup
Saturday , August 9
Griquas 24 - 31 SharksGriquas vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00