Planet Rugby

Blues on fire in Auckland

19th March 2010 06:03

Share:

Rene Ranger Blues Brumbies 2010

Storming performance: Rene Ranger

The Blues made a winning return to Eden Park on Saturday, running five tries past the Brumbies to win 39-34 in a thrilling Super 14 clash.

We expected them to run and they didn't disappoint. Two tries from Joe Rokocoko and a storming performance from Rene Ranger had the Auckland crowd in raptures as the Blues raced to victory at their first game at Eden Park this season.

The Brumbies led 16-10 at the break after a closely-fought first half, but the Blues turned on the gas early in the second period to charge ahead.

Not that it was a one-sided affair. Not by any means. The Brumbies thoroughly deserve their losing bonus point

For the second straight week it was the Brumbies pack that would get the scoreboard rolling. Off the base of a strong scrum the visitors drove at the Blues tryline with Salesi Maafu eventually crashing over after ten minutes.

Matt Giteau added the conversion before exchanging penalties with Stephen Brett, who made sure the Blues secured some points from their first visit to Brumbies territory.

The Blues closed the gap when Rokocoko scored a scintillating try. Ranger bust through the Brumbies line before popping up a brilliant offload to the flying Rocketman, who finished under the posts.

Giteau added two more penalties to give the Brumbies a 16-10 half-time lead.

The Blues started the second period with a bang, scoring two tries in the space of six minutes.

Ranger had the crowd on their feet again with a storming run, using his power and pace to touch down. The big centre was at the origin of the next try too, counter attacking from deep to put Blues on the front foot. Isaia Toeava found Benson Stanley out wide and the centre burnt up the touchline to finish.

Giteau replied with another penalty, but the Blues had their tails up and when Brett found Rokocoko out wide with a pin-point cross field kick-pass, the wing was all alone to score his second and the Blues' fourth.

Again Giteau replied with three points from the tee, only to see the Blues cross the whitewash again. After the Brumbies had fluffed the restart, Brett found Toeava on his inside, the full-back ran a great line and pinned his ears back to fly over.

Brett's conversion made the score 36-22 before the Brumbies struck back with replacement hooker Huia Edmonds bashing his way over from short range.

The Brumbies continued their fightback in the dying minutes as replacement scrum-half Patrick Phibbs sprinted 80m to score after Rocky Elsom broke clear. Giteau's conversion closed the gap to just two points and set up a grandstand finish.

The home side would have the last laugh however, the blue-clad pack bashed their way forward to set up Brett for the drop goal. The fly-half made no mistake, sending the ball between the sticks with just a minute left on the clock to secure victory.

Man of the match: A mention must go to Keven Mealamu, who lead his team by example as he won his 100th Super Rugby cap, but our gong goes to Rene Ranger. He scored a brilliant try, created another and set up a third - what a game!

The scorers

For the Blues:
Tries:
Rokocoko 2, Ranger, Stanley, Toeava
Cons: Brett 4
Pen: Brett
Drop: Brett

For the Brumbies:
Tries:
Maafu, Edmonds, Phibbs
Con: Giteau
Pens: Giteau 5

The teams:

Blues: 15 Isaia Toeava, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Benson Stanley, 11 Rudi Wulf, 10 Stephen Brett, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Viliami Ma'afu, 7 Serge Lilo, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Anthony Boric, 4 Kurtis Haiu, 3 John Afoa, 2 Keven Mealamu (c), 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Charlie Faumuina, 18 Filo Paulo, 19 Peter Saili, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 Daniel Kirkpatrick, 22 Paul Williams.

Brumbies: 15 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14 Pat McCabe, 13 Tyrone Smith, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Francis Fainifo, 10 Matt Giteau, 9 Josh Valentine, 8 Stephen Hoiles, 7 George Smith, 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 Mark Chisholm, 4 Ben Hand, 3 Salesi Maafu, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Ben Alexander.
Replacements: 16 Huia Edmonds, 17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18 Justin Harrison, 19 Mitchell Chapman, 20 Patrick Phibbs, 21 Matt Toomua, 22 Andrew Smith.

Referee: Mark Lawrence (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand), Matthew Stanish (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins vs Leicester19:45
Saturday , April 19
Exeter vs Sale15:00
Bath vs Worcester15:00
Wasps vs Gloucester15:15
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London Irish14:00
Newcastle vs Saracens15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Friday , April 18
Leinster vs Benetton Treviso17:00
Glasgow vs Ulster19:35
Saturday , April 19
Zebre vs Edinburgh14:30
Connacht vs Munster18:15
Sunday , April 20
Cardiff Blues vs Scarlets14:00
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Ospreys16:45
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , April 18
Castres vs Montpellier20:45
Saturday , April 19
Oyonnax vs Toulouse14:55
Perpignan vs Toulon17:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Biarritz vs Brive18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne18:30
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles20:35
More Top 14 fixtures
Super Rugby
Friday , April 18
Hurricanes vs Blues19:35
Melbourne Rebels vs Western Force19:40
Saturday , April 19
Chiefs vs Crusaders19:35
Waratahs vs Bulls19:00
Sharks vs Cheetahs15:00
Stormers vs Lions17:05
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
Gloucester 17 - 18 BathGloucester vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Benetton Treviso 45 - 27 Newport Gwent D'gonsBenetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D
Scarlets 27 - 20 ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Report
Munster 5 - 22 GlasgowMunster vs Glasgow Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 20 - 22 ToulonBordeaux-Begles vs Toulon Report
Toulouse 16 - 9 BriveToulouse vs Brive Report
Grenoble 30 - 36 Montpellier
Perpignan 22 - 12 Oyonnax
Bayonne 24 - 19 Stade Francais
Racing Metro Paris 37 - 7 Biarritz
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 22 - 16 Melbourne RebelsChiefs vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Western Force 28 - 16 WaratahsWestern Force vs Waratahs Report
Lions 12 - 25 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Cheetahs 31 - 52 CrusadersCheetahs vs Crusaders Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 11
Sale Sharks 12 - 27 HarlequinsSale Sharks vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Ulster 58 - 12 ConnachtUlster vs Connacht Report
Edinburgh 22 - 29 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
Ospreys 25 - 19 LeinsterOspreys vs Leinster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 23 - 11 CastresClermont Auvergne vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Highlanders 27 - 20 BullsHighlanders vs Bulls Report
Reds 20 - 23 BrumbiesReds vs Brumbies Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers1963
4Bath1959
5Harlequins1954