Planet Rugby

Four-try Blues dismantle Force

07th July 2012 07:50

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nonu blues v force 2012

Blues battering ram: Ma'a Nonu

The battling Blues restored some pride after beating the Western Force 32-9 thanks to a second-half blitz at Eden Park on Saturday.

It was anyone's game at half-time as the hosts held a slender four-point (13-9) lead over their trans-Tasman rivals.

But it was one-way traffic after the break with the Blues scoring 19 unanswered points, including three converted tries, to competely shut out the hapless Force.

The men from the West have now suffered twelve defeats in 2012, whilst the Blues' victory - just their third of the season - lifts them above the Force into 13th spot on the overall standings and boosts their hopes of avoiding the wooden spoon.

A scrappy first half was littered with handling errors, but the injury-hit visitors (who lost skipper Nathan Sharpe to injury before kick-off) would have been happy with their 6-3 lead after Ben Seymour and Lachie Munro traded penalties.

Ma'a Nonu was denied the opening try in the 28th minute when Napolioni Nalaga put his body on the line to deny the Blues centre. But flank Steven Luatua powered over shortly afterwards for a converted score.

Seymour then slotted over his third successive penalty to narrow the gap to a one-point ball game (10-9), but it would be the last time the Force would score any points in the match as Munro ended the first half with a three-pointer of his own after the half-time hooter.

The Blues came out firing after the break, but it still took them 15 minutes to get over the whitewash when full-back Charles Piutau dived over in the corner after good build-up work from Nonu.

The All Blacks centre was at it again when he took Peter Saili's offload to coast over and score his 100th first-class try, before Luke Braid put the result beyond doubt with a bonus-point try 10 minutes from time.

The scorers:

For Blues:
Tries: Luatua, Piutau, Nonu, L Braid
Cons: Munro 3
Pens: Munro 2

For Western Force:
Pens: Seymour 3

Blues: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Lachie Munro, 13 Francis Saili, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Rene Ranger, 10 Michael Hobbs, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Luke Braid, 7 Daniel Braid, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Andrew Van der Heijden, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Tevita Mailau, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements:16 Tom McCartney, 17 Angus Ta'avao, 18 Chris Lowrey, 19 Peter Saili, 20 Alby Mathewson, 21 Orene Ai'i, 22 Hadleigh Parkes.

Western Force: 15 Alfie Mafi, 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Will Tupou, 12 Winston Stanley, 11 Napolioni Nalaga, 10 Ben Seymour, 9 Brett Sheehan, 8 Lachlan McCaffery, 7 Angus Cottrell, 6 Richard Brown, 5 Nathan Sharpe (c), 4 Toby Lynn, 3 Salesi Manu, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacements:16 Ben Whittaker, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 Ollie Atkins, 19 Anare Koliavu, 20 Josh Holmes, 21 Kyle Godwin, 22 Patrick Dellit.

Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)

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