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Blues outgun Highlanders to advance to Super Rugby Pacific semi-finals

By AAP
(Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

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Former NRL superstar Roger Tuivasa-Sheck scored his first Super Rugby Pacific try as the Blues cruised through to the semi-finals with a 35-6 win against the Highlanders at Eden Park.

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The 2018 Dally M medallist was in sparkling touch and continued to push his case for All Blacks selection, creating a try for Beauden Barrett on 48 minutes before slashing through for his own on 69 minutes.

Despite losing hooker Andrew Makalio to a red card for a no-arms tackle in the 22nd minute, the Highlanders managed to keep the Blues at bay for the first half an hour of the contest, taking a 6-0 lead through two Marty Banks penalties.

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Flanker Akira Ioane stormed over the line to get the Blues on the scoreboard in the 31st minute and soon afterwards a bit of magic from All Blacks flyhalf Barrett for a second converted try had the home side 14-6 ahead.

Barrett scored his second eight minutes into the second half after slick play from Tuivasa-Sheck and replacement winger AJ Lam.

Tuivasa-Sheck then used his blistering pace to cross as the Highlanders ran out of gas.

“You can never get comfortable against the ‘Landers, they are a side that always fights for the full 80 (minutes),” captain Barrett told Stan Sport.

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“We took a bit of time to find our groove … but it’s great that we finally expressed ourselves and got used to playing our game again.”

The Blues’ semi-final is set for next Saturday night at Eden Park.

Blues 35 (Tries to Akira Ioane, Beauden Barrett (2), AJ Lam and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck; 5 conversions to Stephen Perofeta)

Highlanders 6 (2 penalties to Marty Banks)

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