The Blues have snuck home over the Hurricanes at Eden Park in a round six clash of Super Rugby Aotearoa. It was a hard fought 27 -17 victory.
The Blues were aware after two losses their discipline needed to improve but errors were still there early like a nasty smell, with some poor passing and easy penalties provided for the Canes to stay within one point at halftime, a good result for them given that they too were not saintly; two yellow cards guzzling the petrol tanks of 14 men for 20 minutes.
At around 48 minutes the Blues started to make inroads into and through the Canes defensive line, made the most of the two chances they got in the next 15 minutes and won ugly.
Here’re the Blues’ ratings
1. Karl Tu’inukuafe – 6
Tough night for big Karl. Passed an HIA test at halftime but succumbed to a bang on the knee and off at 42.
2. Luteru Tolai – 4
Started with a stupid late charge on Campbell. As an ex-loose forward there’s no questioning his defence but compared with the other franchises, hooker is a weak area. Off at 62.
3. Ofa Tuungafasi – 7
Big fuss made at home for his 101st game for the Blues. Was one of the players who sparked the team with a series of carries around the 48 minute mark. Off at 57.
4. Sam Darry – 6
A good young player and an impressive sight when he’s leaping at the lineout. Some small errors; a little knock on in the air in the 13th minute and delivered a head high at 15. Held up at the maul at 53. Off at 62. Will be a valuable asset for the Blues in the years to come.
5. Gerard Cowley-Tuioti – 6.5
Got trapped in ruck and gave away the first points in the 26th minute. Loved his work before halftime running at the line and was always willing to carry.
6. Tom Robinson © – 6
Refused a penalty shot in the 9th minute to go for the corner and that led to his maul error on attack moments later. Good steal at the lineout at 47. Just looking at the dynamics in the team talks he wasn’t captain for his Churchillian speeches but leading from the front and firing up the energy and fizz, which he did well as usual.
7. Dalton Papalii – 8
With Sam Cane out Papalii is in the box seat to get some game time in the black jersey and he stayed prominent this week. Big red flags for the Canes as he came up with turnovers early on so they started running at him which upped his tackle count to the stratosphere again. Wasn’t lazy on the other side of the ball either, perhaps he could be the captain next time Paddy takes a spell?
8. Hoskins Sotutu – 7
His performance was a reflection of the Blues performance. Sotutu had his best period of the game at the end of the third quarter and the Blues scored the two tries they needed for the points. Also had a lovely turnover at 56 over Laumape. Off at 62.
The Blues have got their Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign back on track with a 27-17 victory over the Hurricanes at Eden Park in Auckland. Here's how the visitors rated:#SuperRugbyAotearoa #BLUvHUR https://t.co/39ijS2YzgC
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 3, 2021
9. Sam Nock – 6
Good cover tackle on Rayasi in the 14th minute. Another wayward box kick at 41 and that could have been the moment when the coaches decided on a change.
10. Otere Black – 6.5
Good Aussie Rules jump to deny Julian Savea at 15 minutes, got smashed by Kirifi at a ruck. Tends to stay in the pocket a lot but showed at 64 minutes what he could do on the front foot when he hit a ball over the back of the lineout hard.
11.Caleb Clarke – 5.5
Nice to see him looking for work down the right in the 18th minute. It seems not to be going his way this season and frustration led to poor hands, he knocked one into touch then another off a kickoff in the 33rd minute. Off at 75 and needs to look at adding to his armory on attack. Big pumping thighs are not providing the same dividends this season.
12. TJ Faiane – 7
Provided some more starch in midfield, lovely series of hits around the 34 minute mark. Got a well-deserved try at 50 minutes running off Perofeta. The backline seems much more balanced with him in midfield. Off at 66.
13. Rieko Ioane – 6
Quiet night for Rieko. Highlight was a classic centre’s run (around a forward for sure) at 64 minutes and pop a lovely ball to Telea for try three.
14. Mark Telea- 6.5
Busy start, nice streak down the wing in 3rd minute then smashed Leger moments later amd caused a Hurricanes knock on at the back of the ruck. Continued to add to attacks and was on his wing for the finish to the Blues final try.
15. Stephen Perofeta – 7.5
The Blues needed him to step into more playmaking with no Plummer around and he seemed to relish the balance of playing in the backfield and adding to attacks in the line. It wasn’t all positive, his woes continued defending first out at set piece early with Rayasi in the 14th minute, a forward pass at 22 but the highlight was the line break at 50 to set up Faiane for a crucial try. Off at 54 with an HIA test but returned at 66 with energy.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 3, 2021
16. Leni Apisai- N/A
On at 62. Has a very unusual style in open play, I liken it to drunken kung fu.
17. Alex Hodgman – 6
On at 42. Quick hands in the pod more than once but the core role didn’t go so well. Penalised at 55 and 75 at the scrum so work to do there.
18. Nepo Laulala – 5.5
On at 57. Banged his head at 59 but was solid.
19. Josh Goodhue – N/A
On at 62.
20. Akira Ioane – 6.5
On at 62. Good defence early but had his pocket picked at the scrum at 71. Good ball and all lifting tackle to snuff the Canes challenge out moments later.
21. Jonathan Ruru – 6.5
On at 42 and offside straight away. Great tackle on Julian Savea as the Bus got to top speed heading for the tryline. Good height to his box kicks made them more effective. Was a good option for this grinding game.
22. Harry Plummer N/A
On at 54 for an HIA test. Dodgy mou, befitting of an 80s traffic cop but looked solid.
23. AJ Lam – N/A
On at 75. Big first tackle on Goosen but no real chances.
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