Planet Rugby

Home comforts for Blues

17th June 2011 08:09

Share:

Peter Saili and Jamie Mackintosh Blues v Highlanders

Blues: Cement play-off place

The Blues booked themselves a home play-off after sweeping past the Highlanders 33-16 at a wet Eden Park in Auckland on Friday.

It wasn't pretty, but the Aucklanders did what was required to secure a place in the top four of the overall log, which means they will host either one of the Bulls, Sharks or Waratahs next weekend.

The three tries to two victory also breaks a four-match losing streak for the Blues, whilst the Highlanders end their season on a low having lost three on the bounce.

With the rain pouring down and the ground heavy underfoot, it was initially thought that the wet conditions would favour the visiting pack.

And when Highlanders wing Matt Saunders went over for his first of two tries in the seventh minute, alarm bells would have been ringing around Eden Park.

However, any thoughts of an upset were quickly quelled after two quickfire tries to Stephen Brett and Luke McAlister in the space of three minutes put the Blues in a handy lead that they didn't relinquish for the rest of the game.

The hosts were helped along by wing Lachie Munro, who contributed 18 points with the boot in a near flawless kicking display - missing only two shots at goal.

Leading 17-11 at half-time, Blues centre Jared Payne added to the advantage immediately after the break with an opportune score, and the trusty kicking of Munro did the rest to render Saunders' late second try irrelevant.

The Auckland side moves into second on the ladder and top of the New Zealand Conference for the time being but the Stormers and Crusaders can overtake them with wins this weekend.

The scorers:

For Blues:
Tries: Brett, McAlister, Payne
Cons: Munro 3
Pens: Munro 4

For Highlanders:
Tries: Saunders 2
Pen: Brown
Drop: Brown

Blues: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Benson Stanley, 12 Luke McAlister, 11 Lachie Munro, 10 Stephen Brett, 9 Chris Smylie, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Anthony Boric, 3 John Afoa, 2 Keven Mealamu (c), 1 Charlie Faumuina.
Replacements: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Tevita Mailau, 18 Chris Lowrey, 19 Sean Polwart, 20 Alby Mathewson, 21 Winston Stanley, 22 Sherwin Stowers.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Matt Saunders, 13 Kendrick Lynn, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Siale Piutau, 10 Tony Brown, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Alando Soakai, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Chris King, 2 Jason Rutledge, 1 Jamie Mackintosh. (c).
Replacements: 16 Mo Schwalger, 17 Bronson Murray, 18 Josh Bekhuis, 19 Nick Croswell, 20 Aaron Smith, 21 Robbie Robinson, 22 Telusa Veainu.

Referee: Bryce Lawrence

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Heineken Cup
Saturday , April 26
Saracens vs Clermont Auvergne15:40
Sunday , April 27
Toulon vs Munster15:30
More Heineken Cup fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Saturday , April 26
Glasgow vs Edinburgh19:05
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Amlin Challenge Cup
Friday , April 25
Northampton vs Harlequins20:00
Sunday , April 27
Wasps vs Bath13:00
More Amlin Challenge Cup fixtures
Super Rugby
Friday , April 25
Blues vs Waratahs17:35
Brumbies vs Chiefs17:40
Sharks vs Highlanders19:10
Saturday , April 26
Hurricanes vs Reds19:35
Western Force vs Bulls17:40
Cheetahs vs Stormers17:05
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 20
Northampton 36 - 21 London IrishNorthampton vs London Irish Report
Newcastle 18 - 23 SaracensNewcastle vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Cardiff Blues 17 - 13 ScarletsCardiff Blues vs Scarlets Report
Newport Gwent D'gons 10 - 20 Ospreys
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , April 19
Bath 32 - 20 WorcesterBath vs Worcester Report
Exeter 12 - 55 SaleExeter vs Sale Report
Wasps 38 - 30 GloucesterWasps vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Zebre 26 - 13 EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Report
Connacht 23 - 32 MunsterConnacht vs Munster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Oyonnax 19 - 19 ToulouseOyonnax vs Toulouse Report
Biarritz 19 - 13 Brive
Perpignan 31 - 46 ToulonPerpignan vs Toulon Report
Racing Metro Paris 22 - 6 Clermont AuvergneRacing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Stade Francais 37 - 23 Bordeaux-Begles
Grenoble 21 - 21 Bayonne
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 17 - 18 CrusadersChiefs vs Crusaders Report
Sharks 19 - 8 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
Waratahs 19 - 12 BullsWaratahs vs Bulls Report
Stormers 18 - 3 LionsStormers vs Lions Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins 24 - 20 LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Leinster 62 - 7 Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Report
Glasgow 27 - 9 UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Castres 22 - 15 MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 39 - 20 BluesHurricanes vs Blues Report
Melbourne Rebels 22 - 16 Western Force
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens2080
2Northampton2071
3Bath2064
4Leicester Tigers2064
5Harlequins2058