Blues hold out Rebels

11 May 2013
Round 13
Blues v Rebels
36 - 32
7:35 p.m., Eden Park
(HT 29 - 10)

Blues
Frank Halai 3, Francis Saili 2, Rene Ranger tries, Chris Noakes 2 con, Baden Kerr con

Rebels
Mitch Inman 2, Scott Higginbotham, Lachlan Mitchell, Jason Woodward tries; Jason Woodward pen, 2 con


The Blues mixed dazzling attacking rugby with lacklustre defence as they held out the Rebels to win 36-32 at Eden Park tonight.

Barnstorming winger Frank Halai scored a hat-trick while Francis Saili also bagged a brace of tries as the Blues’ backs cut the ragged Rebels to ribbons.

But as superb as their attacking flair was, the Blues’ defence left much to be desired as they surrendered a commanding 29-10 halftime lead and only just held on to defeat the Rebels.

Head coach Sir John Kirwan had made five changes to the starting XV for this evening’s game, evoking memories of his similar move against the Bulls where his side went down 21-28.

But any concerns the 14,700 fans that came along to Eden Park may have had about a repeat were soon allayed as the Blues had the four try bonus point in the bag within 26 minutes.

A revelation in his debut Super Rugby season, Halai was at his rampaging best this evening and bagged the first of his three tries after just nine minutes.

However the Rebels hit straight back from the re-start after Ali Williams dropped the ball, Mitch Inman getting on the outside of Chris Noakes to score.

Francis Saili was back in his favoured position of second five-eighths, partnering the mercurial Rene Ranger in the midfield, and the duo were in devastating form.

When Ranger made a break and offloaded inside, Saili hacked the ball ahead and showed a brilliant turn of pace to chase and regather it just before the line to score.

Not one to be left out of the action, Charles Piutau injected himself into the game to superb effect, breaking two tackles and firing out a wide pass to Halai who made a mockery of his opposite number Cooper Vuna to score.

Much had been made of star Rebels playmaker James O’Connor’s impressive form but he lasted less than half an hour, leaving the field after Ranger absolutely smashed him over.

After discarding of O’Connor, Ranger put in a deft grubber and forced the Rebels back into their dead ball for a five metre attacking scrum, and from there Saili ran a great line to crash over the whitewash for his second try of the evening.

However the Blues’ defence left much to be desired at times as Scott Higginbotham palmed off Ali Williams and ran away to score a soft try to the visitors.

Halai’s third try of the evening gave the Blues a comfortable 29-10 lead at the break, but the home side came out flat in the second stanza as the Rebels clawed their way into the game on the back of some disappointing Blues defence.

Second five-eighths Lachlan Mitchell scored for the visitors from a five metre scrum after prop Laurie Weeks was held up over the line, and his midfield partner Mitch Inman scored a similar try 15 minutes later to close up the scores to 29-22.

After setting up a number of tries, Rene Ranger scored the match clinching try nine minutes from fulltime after picking the ball from the base of the ruck and running 20 metres.

However the Rebels had the final say, scoring a consolation try on fulltime through Jason Woodward to bring the score to 36-32.

The Blues’ next assignment is against the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday.

Comments

ROUND 2

29

Highlanders v
Blues

Sat 22 Feb 2014
7:35pm

21

35

Blues v
Crusaders

Fri 28 Feb 2014
7:35pm

24

38

Bulls v
Blues

Sun 9 Mar 2014
4:05am

22

39

Lions v
Blues

Sun 16 Mar 2014
2am

36

40

Blues v
Cheetahs

Sat 22 Mar 2014
7:35pm

30

30

Blues v
Highlanders

Sat 29 Mar 2014
7:35pm

12

26

Brumbies v
Blues

Fri 4 Apr 2014
9:40pm

9

39

Hurricanes v
Blues

Fri 18 Apr 2014
7:35pm

20

21

Blues v
Waratahs

Fri 25 Apr 2014
5:35pm

13

44

Blues v
Reds

Fri 2 May 2014
7:35pm

14

32

Chiefs v
Blues

Fri 9 May 2014
7:35pm

20

23

Blues v
Sharks

Fri 23 May 2014
7:35pm

29

37

Blues v
Hurricanes

Sat 31 May 2014
7:35pm

24

14

Force v
Blues

Sat 28 Jun 2014
11:35pm

44

21

Crusaders v
Blues

Sat 5 Jul 2014
7:35pm

13

8

Blues v
Chiefs

Fri 11 Jul 2014
7:35pm

11

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This week's top Players


Here are the top players of this week's match as voted by you.


Frank Halai
29 votes
Francis Saili
27 votes
Rene Ranger
25 votes
Steven Luatua
9 votes
Angus Ta'avao
6 votes
Ali Williams
4 votes
Piri Weepu
4 votes
Brendon O'Connor
3 votes
Charles Piutau
2 votes
Chris Noakes
2 votes
Tim Perry
2 votes
Peter Saili
1 votes
George Moala
1 votes

Total: 115 votes

2013 Points Table

Team P W D L B BP Points
Chiefs 16 12 0 4 0 10 66
Bulls 16 12 0 4 0 7 63
Brumbies 16 10 2 4 0 8 60
Crusaders 16 11 0 5 0 8 60
Reds 16 10 2 4 0 6 58
Cheetahs 16 10 0 6 0 6 54
Stormers 16 9 0 7 0 6 50
Sharks 16 8 0 8 0 8 48
Waratahs 16 8 0 8 0 5 45
Blues 16 6 0 10 2 12 44
Hurricanes 16 6 0 10 0 9 41
Rebels 16 5 0 11 0 9 37
Force 16 4 1 11 0 5 31
Highlanders 16 3 0 13 0 9 29
Kings 16 3 1 12 0 2 24
Full Results

2013 Draw & Results

Round Date Match Result
2 23 Feb v Hurricanes W 20 - 34
3 1 Mar v Crusaders W 34 - 15
4 10 Mar v Bulls L 21 - 28
6 24 Mar v Waratahs L 30 - 27
7 30 Mar v Chiefs L 23 - 16
8 5 Apr v Highlanders W 29 - 18
9 13 Apr v Hurricanes W 28 - 6
11 26 Apr v Reds L 12 - 11
12 3 May v Stormers W 18 - 17
13 11 May v Rebels W 36 - 32
14 18 May v Crusaders L 23 - 3
15 25 May v Brumbies L 13 - 20
16 1 Jun v Highlanders L 38 - 28
18 30 Jun v Sharks L 22 - 20
19 7 Jul v Cheetahs L 34 - 13
20 13 Jul v Chiefs L 16 - 26
Full Results