Planet Rugby

Blues stop the rot

11th May 2012 07:42

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Hadleigh Parkes blues v lions

Blues: Ended seven-match losing run and overtake Lions on the log

It was a long time coming, but the Blues finally ended their losing streak after beating the Lions 25-3 at Eden Park on Friday.

After seven defeats on the trot, the struggling Kiwi outfit returned to winning ways over the lowly Lions who - after suffering their ninth consecutive loss - now drop to the bottom of the table.

In a dull battle between the tournament's basement dwellars, the hosts outscored their visitors three tries to nil with captain Luke Braid sealing the deal with an 80th-minute touchdown.

Whilst it was a welcomed victory for the Blues, it was not a great performance, with the Lions simply playing even worse.

The Johannesburg-based outfit now look destined to finish rock bottom for the sixth time since 1998 and they may lose their spot in the competition, with new South African franchise the Southern Kings taking their place.

The Lions made the better start of the two desperate sides, and their forwards dominated the Blues early on. An Elton Jantjies penalty put his team in front in the fifth minute, but it would be the last time the visitors would contribute any points in the match.

Instead, the Blues hit their straps and worked their way up the length of the field before centre Michael Hobbs was able to cut through a weak defensive effort for the opening try.

Recalled rookie Gareth Anscombe landed the simple conversion as well as a penalty a few minutes later to give the hosts a seven-point (10-3) lead. And that's how the score stayed at half-time.

Anscombe slotted over a second penalty soon after the break to extend the Blues' lead before Alby Mathewson went over for their second try after the replacement scrum-half scampered 40 metres to score in the corner.

The Blues struggled in the scrums late in the match after both starting props Tony Woodcock and Charlie Faumuina left the field with injuries.

But the Lions were unable to capitalise on the advantage they had up front and when they did win the ball their backs suffered from handling errors. The Lions also had winger Deon Van Rensburg yellow carded in the second half for a professional foul at a ruck close to his line.

Skipper Luke Braid added the icing in the final minute when the flanker broke off from the back of a scrum and was driven over the line by his team-mates.

The scorers:

For Blues:
Tries: Hobbs, Mathewson, L Braid
Cons: Anscombe 2
Pens: Anscombe 2

For Lions:
Pen: Jantjies

Blues: 15 Hadleigh Parkes, 14 David Raikuna, 13 Ma'a Nonu, 12 Michael Hobbs, 11 Benson Stanley, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Daniel Braid, 6 Luke Braid (c), 5 Ali Williams, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Tevita Mailau.
Replacements: 16 James Parsons, 17 Angus Ta'avao, 18 Filo Paulo, 19 Steven Luatua, 20 Alby Mathewson, 21 Lachie Munro, 22 Sherwin Stowers.

Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Deon Van Rensburg, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Jaco Taute, 11 Michael Killian, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Joshua Strauss (c), 7 Grant Hattingh, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Franco Van der Merwe, 3 Patric Cilliers, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 CJ Van der Linde, 18 Cobus Grobbelaar, 19 Jaco Kriel, 20 Tian Meyer, 21 Ruan Combrinck, 22 James Kamana.

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