Blues thwart 'Tahs comeback

16th Apr 2011, 11:42

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Busting through: Jerome Kaino

Busting through: Jerome Kaino

The Blues did enough in the first half to beat the Waratahs 31-17 in a compelling Super Rugby match at Eden Park on Saturday.

The Blues did enough in the first half to beat the Waratahs 31-17 in a compelling Super Rugby match at Eden Park on Saturday.

In a game of two halves, the Blues looked to be home and dry after leading their trans-Tasman rivals 31-7 at half-time, with the hosts crossing over for five superb tries.

The Waratahs weren't prepared to roll over so easily after the break though and fought back admirably to keep the Blues scoreless and threaten a comeback.

However it wasn't to be as the home side held on to bag five precious points while the 'Tahs return home empty-handed.

The Blues, who enjoyed a bye last week, came into the match refreshed and they showed the benefit of the week off with an energy and intensity that the Waratahs, who were missing several key players, had no answer to.

The Blues surged towards a bonus point after an opening blast saw props John Afoa and Tevita Mailau, centre Jared Payne and winger Rene Ranger cross for tries.

Daniel Halangahu managed to cross for the shell-shocked Waratahs' first points after 30 minutes when they finally managed to build some momentum, with Kurtley Beale adding the extras.

The respite was only temporary however as the Blues continued to attack with Alby Mathewson burrowing over from a ruck. Luke McAlister banged over three conversions as the Blues went into the break with an unassailable 31-7 lead.

To the visitors credit, they kept fighting and stayed in the contest after the Blues took their foot off the gas somewhat in the second half as coach Pat Lam threw on a raft of replacements.

Drew Mitchell crossed out wide and Ryan Cross went over with 11 minutes left to give the 'Tahs some hope at two converted tries down.

But Beale managed just one from four with the boot and in the end the mountain was too big to climb, even for a consolation bonus point.

The scorers:

For Blues:
Tries: Afoa, Mailau, Payne, Ranger, Mathewson
Cons: McAlister 3

For Waratahs:
Tries: Halangahu, Mitchell, Cross
Con: Beale

Blues: 15 Isaia Toeava, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Jared Payne, 12 Luke McAlister, 11 Rene Ranger, 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 Tevita Mailau.
Replacements: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Filo Paulo, 19 Chris Lowrey, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 Lachie Munro, 22 Benson Stanley.

Waratahs: 15 Lachie Turner, 14 Tom Kingston, 13 Ryan Cross, 12 Daniel Halangahu, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Ben Mowen, 7 Pat McCutcheon, 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Dean Mumm (c), 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 John Ulugia, 17 Al Baxter, 18 Pat O'Connor, 19 Sitaleki Timani, 20 Chris Alcock, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Sosene Anesi.

Referee: Mark Lawrence (South Africa)