Planet Rugby

Blues repel Rebels fightback

11th May 2013 08:07

Share:

Frank Halai Blues v Rebels 2013

Hat-trick hero: Frank Halai

The Blues staved off a second half fightback from the Rebels to claim a 36-32 victory in Auckland on Saturday.

The home side laid the foundation for this win in the first half, when they ran in five tries, with right wing Frank Halai leading the way with a deserved hat-trick.

The opening minutes were highlighted by several errors at the breakdown from the Blues. James O'Connor had an opportunity to open the scoring from the kicking tee twice inside the first five minutes but he missed both penalty attempts.

Blues goal-kicker Chris Noakes also missed a shot at goal, shortly afterwards, but Halai scored the game's opening try in the 10th minute after Angus Ta'avao did well to draw in a defender before offloading to the flyer.

Noakes missed with the conversion attempt and his poor start to the game got even worse when he missed a vital tackle on Mitch Inman which allowed the Rebels centre to score the visitors' first try two minutes later.

The Blues restored their lead, in the 18th minute, when Francis Saili clung to a brilliant Rene Ranger offload on his bootlaces, before kicking ahead and beating the cover defence in a race to the ball behind the Rebels' try-line.

Five minutes later Halai got in for his second try after running onto a long pass from Charles Piutau before Scott Higginbotham struck back with a five-pointer for the visitors after shrugging off a sluggish tackle from Ali Williams.

Halai secured his hat-trick in the 31st minute after Ranger put him in the clear with a perfectly-timed long pass inside the Rebels' 22. The big wing still had work to do and stepped out of a tackle from Cooper Vuna before touching down.

The Rebels suffered a major setback midway through the half when, first, O'Connor was forced off with a chest injury, and then his replacement Angus Roberts also cried off with a dislocated shoulder after spending only six minutes on the field.

The Melbourne-based outfit started the second half brightly and after Jarryd Saffy and Cadeyrn Neville were both held up over the try-line they were eventually rewarded, in the 46th minute, when Lachlan Mitchell crashed through a tackle from Ranger before dotting down.

The visitors were dominant for the next 20 minutes, scoring a further 10 unanswered points through another Inman try - after Higginbotham took a quick tap penalty close to the Blues' try-line - and a conversion and a penalty from Jason Woodward.

With the score at 29-25 to the hosts, the Rebels were brimming with confidence but Ranger took the wind out of their sails when he burst through a gap in their defence, at a ruck, to score the hosts' sixth try.

To their credit, the Rebels did not surrender and they clinched their second bonus-point - for losing by less than seven points - when Woodward scored another try, which he converted in injury time.

The scorers:

For Blues:
Tries: Halai 3, F Saili 2, Ranger
Con: Noakes 2, Kerr

For Rebels:
Tries: Inman 2, Higginbotham, Mitchell, Woodward
Con: Woodward 2
Pen: Woodward

Blues:15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Francis Saili, 11 George Moala, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Ali Williams (c), 4 Anthony Boric, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 Quentin MacDonald, 1 Tim Perry
Replacements:16 Gafatasi Su'a, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Ronald Raaymakers, 19 Luke Braid, 20 Jamison Gibson-Park, 21 Baden Kerr, 22 Lolagi Visinia.

Rebels: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Tom English, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Lachie Mitchell, 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 James O'Connor, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Scott Higginbotham (captain), 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Jarrod Saffy, 5 Cadeyrn Neville, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Nic Henderson.
Replacements: 16 Ged Robinson, 17 Paul Alo-Emile, 18 Luke Jones, 19 Gareth Delve, 20 Nic Stirzaker, 21 Angus Roberts, 22 Bryce Hegarty.

Referee: Garrat Williamson

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs NorthamptonNewcastle vs Northampton Preview
Friday , September 26
London Welsh vs Gloucester19:45
Saturday , September 27
Saracens vs Sale15:00
Leicester vs London Irish15:00
Northampton vs Bath15:15
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , September 27
South Africa vs Australia16:05
Argentina vs New Zealand23:10
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs EdinburghOspreys vs Edinburgh Preview
Friday , September 26
Edinburgh vs Scarlets19:35
Leinster vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Glasgow vs Connacht19:35
Saturday , September 27
Zebre vs Ulster15:00
Munster vs Ospreys18:30
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , September 27
Toulon vs Montpellier18:00
Stade Francais vs La Rochelle18:00
Oyonnax vs Clermont Auvergne18:00
Grenoble vs Racing Metro Paris18:00
Bayonne vs Toulouse18:00
Brive vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Lyon vs Castres18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 26
Cheetahs vs Blue Bulls19:10
Saturday , September 27
Sharks vs Eastern Province Kings14:00
Pumas vs Western Province15:00
Griquas vs Lions15:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Sunday , September 21
Otago vs WaikatoOtago vs Waikato Preview
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 20
Sale 46 - 8 London WelshSale vs London Welsh Report
Harlequins 26 - 23 WaspsHarlequins vs Wasps Report
London Irish 32 - 36 SaracensLondon Irish vs Saracens Report
Bath 45 - 0 LeicesterBath vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 13 - 33 GlasgowNewport Gwent D
Scarlets 43 - 0 Benetton TrevisoScarlets vs Benetton Treviso Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Racing Metro Paris 27 - 16 ToulouseRacing Metro Paris vs Toulouse Report
Grenoble 24 - 15 Bayonne
Clermont Auvergne 43 - 12 LyonClermont Auvergne vs Lyon Report
Montpellier 23 - 3 Stade FrancaisMontpellier vs Stade Francais Report
La Rochelle 26 - 29 Bordeaux-Begles
Castres 27 - 18 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Western Province 36 - 12 GriquasWestern Province vs Griquas Report
Blue Bulls 15 - 26 SharksBlue Bulls vs Sharks Report
Eastern Province Kings 22 - 37 CheetahsEastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Hawkes Bay 36 - 17 Bay Of Plenty
Auckland 32 - 7 North HarbourAuckland vs North Harbour Report
Manawatu 36 - 17 Southland
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester 22 - 25 ExeterGloucester vs Exeter Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Munster 31 - 5 ZebreMunster vs Zebre Report
Connacht 10 - 9 LeinsterConnacht vs Leinster Report
Cardiff Blues 9 - 26 UlsterCardiff Blues vs Ulster Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Brive 13 - 53 ToulonBrive vs Toulon Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Lions 29 - 15 Pumas
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Counties Manukau 20 - 28 CanterburyCounties Manukau vs Canterbury Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath314
2Saracens313
3Exeter310
4Leicester Tigers39
5Harlequins38