Winning has turn into not only a behavior however of late a celebration for the all of the sudden irrepressible Blues on this Super Rugby Pacific season.
Leon MacDonald’s males misplaced All Blacks star Rieko Ioane early to what appeared a hamstring harm, however not something in the way in which of type, momentum and confidence as they comfortably dispatched Brad Thorn‘s Queensland Reds to financial institution one more bonus-point victory.
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The eight tries to 4 victory was the Blues’ eleventh on the bounce this season (one shy of equalling the franchise document), enhancing them to a competition-best 11-1, and 50 competitors factors. Ominously, they now have a seven-point buffer on their closest pursuers (the Brumbies and Crusaders), with the minor premiership all however sewn up with a fortnight remaining within the common season.
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In case you have not been counting, that is additionally 19 tries, and 124 factors, within the final two matches towards Australian opposition, after final spherical’s 71-28 dismantling of the Rebels. These guys are in some form of attacking type – even when their defence may want just a bit little bit of consideration.
It was one other excellent attacking show by the Blues, with the pack once more laying a wonderful basis, and the backs having a discipline day with their pace and execution. Lock James Tucker continued his standout type with one other huge evening (43m on the carry), Hoskins Sotutu unleashed his abilities with 4 defenders overwhelmed and alternative hooker Soane Vikena loved the evening with two late tries off the lineout drive route.
Beauden Barrett was wonderful within the pivot and was one in all three Blues’ backs to beat 5 defenders on the nights. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck continued his constructive type with a team-high 72m (together with 5 defenders overwhelmed, and one exhilarating clear break) and Bryce Heem’s two-try effort off the bench was notable. Caleb Clarke, too, continued his surging type with a brace of tries and several other blockbusting runs.
The Reds toiled onerous and confirmed some good touches themselves to internet 4 tries. Wing Suliasi Vunivalu, halfback Tate McDermott and lock Ryan Smith had been their standouts. But they missed 32 tackles, and that is simply too excessive a quantity to have any probability.
Heem finds a gap
The Blues had opened at a degree a minute by means of the primary 17 minutes. A stupendous run on the cutback line from alternative midfielder Heem and an 82-metre counter-attack completed by Clarke from a ruck had put the house facet out to 17-0 earlier than the large crowd of 19,690 had absolutely settled of their seats.
But the Reds – down a number of key troops, however not in spirit – weren’t going to roll over and play roadkill, as their mates from the Rebels had eight days earlier, and so they scored two of the remaining three tries of the half to scrape again inside eight (22-14) on the break.
Big wing Vunivalu, a one-time Auckland schoolboy star with St Kent’s, was an enormous determine within the Reds’ response over the second quarter, notching a wonderful strive himself on the within line off his halfback, after which organising the rating on the stroke of halftime for Smith when he skinned Clarke on the cost.
In between these two Reds’ seven-pointers Heem, who got here on for Ioane after simply 10 minutes, accomplished an excellent stint along with his second strive when some beautiful dealing with from the Blues’ backs punished the guests for an error on the carry of their half.
The Blues put the match on ice early within the second spell with two fast tries (to Clarke and Barrett), and after then it was solely a matter of making certain the bonus level because the tries stored coming. Replacement hooker Soane Vikena’s late brace and a pleasant end by Stephen Perofeta ensured that.