Planet Rugby

Blues win in wet Waikato

26th March 2011 05:45

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Jared Payne and Lelia Masaga in the air

Close one: Payne and Masaga

The Blues moved to the summit of the New Zealand conference on Saturday after securing a 16-13 victory over the Chiefs in horrendous conditions.

It wasn't a pretty contest by any stretch of the imagination but the men from Auckland had a kicker on form, as Luke McAlister hit 11 points.

The hosts meanwhile watched as Mike Delany missed his side's two conversion attempts, which at the time would have pushed them 14-0 up.

But despite the wet-weather conditions, events in Hamilton opened up at quite a pace as three spillages ended up seeing the ball hacked downfield and captain Liam Messam crossing with barely a minute having passed on the clock.

Then the power of loosehead Sona Taumalolo, who was making just his first start of the Super Rugby season, saw him cross from close-range to extend the lead up to a ten. The Blues needed to find their feet - difficult on the surface and in the bruising ferocity of a New Zealand derby clash.

Then came a long period in the game where the Blues were dominant, particularly at the scrum, as they set up camp on the Chiefs line for ten minutes. In the end they chose to take three points and then another three came the way of centre McAlister just before the interval.

At 6-10 down and with the momentum, the Blues then went on to claim the lead for the first time in the game after Sitiveni Sivivatu failed to collect a grubber from McAlister only for Jared Payne to hack on and score. The extras pushed the Blues into a three-point lead.

Delany did strike back with three points of his own just after the hour mark but the visiting kicker then kicked what proved to be the winning points with eight minutes remaining.

Man-of-the-match: Few stood out but for his work-rate and amount of tackles put in, we go for Scott Waldrom. A mention too for Jared Payne, who continues to impress at thirteen.

The scorers:

For the Chiefs:
Tries: Messam, Taumalolo
Pen: Delany

For the Blues:
Try: Payne
Con: McAlister
Pen: McAlister 3

Chiefs: 15 Tim Nanai-Williams, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Richard Kahui, 12 Tana Umaga, 11 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 10 Mike Delany, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Liam Messam (c), 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Scott Waldrom, 5 Isaac Ross, 4 Craig Clarke, 3 Nathan White, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Sona Taumalolo.
Replacements: 16 Aled de Malmanche, 17 Toby Smith, 18 Culum Retallick, 19 Fritz Lee, 20 Taniela Moa, 21 Dwayne Sweeney, 22 Save Tokula.

Blues: 15 Isaia Toeava, 14 Rene Ranger, 13 Jared Payne, 12 Luke McAlister, 11 Joe Rokocoko, 10 Stephen Brett, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Anthony Boric, 4 Kurtis Haiu, 3 John Afoa, 2 Keven Mealamu (c), 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Tevita Mailau, 18 Teofilo Paulo, 19 Mat Luamanu, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 Lachie Munro, 22 Benson Stanley/Sherwin Stowers.

Referee: Ian Smith (Australia)

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