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Blues player ratings vs Moana Pasifika | Super Rugby Pacific

By Alex McLeod
(Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

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The Blues made it back-to-back wins over Moana Pasifika in the space of the week when they defeated their cross-town rivals 46-16 at Eden Park on Saturday.

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Here’s how they rated:

1. Alex Hodgman – 7

Showed some attacking skill to break the line and get an offload away to Finlay Christie in the lead-up to Corey Evans’ try. Muscled up well at scrum time. Off in the 52nd minute.

2. Kurt Eklund – 8

Was the rock of a powerful Blues front row that acquitted themselves well at scrum time. Picked off a Christian Leali’ifano pass early in the second half. Burrowed over for a well-taken try from the back of a rolling maul near the end of the first half, and did the same on the other side of the break. Capped his game off with a third rolling maul try, becoming the first Blues hooker in history to complete a hat-trick. Off in the 67th minute.

3. Marcel Renata – 7.5

Added to his side’s hefty penalty count inside the opening few minutes when he incorrectly entered a ruck. Got the better of Ezekiel Lindenmuth at a scrum shortly afterwards, though, forcing a turnover out of his ex-teammate. Wasn’t the only time he impressed at the scrum. Deft inside ball to Hodgman set his propping partner away for a line break that eventually led to Evans’ try. Overall, a very good performance. Off in the 52nd minute.

4. James Tucker – 6.5

Defended stoutly, got through the dirty work and was of good value at the lineout in a workmanlike 80-minute showing.

5. Sam Darry – 7

Got up well to snatch a steal at an early lineout. Good support play to help instigate Evans’ try. Acted as his side’s chief lineout target right up until he was benched. Off in the 51st minute.

6. Cam Suafoa – 6

Did his best to disrupt Moana Pasifika’s lineout and showed some good handling skills in general play. Off in the 62nd minute.

7. Dalton Papalii (c) – 6

Pinged for for two breakdown infringement inside the first few minutes, the second of which cost his side three points. Conceded another breakdown-related penalty early in the second half. Strong piece of defence to prevent Solomone Funaki from scoring while his side were down to 14 men and topped the match’s tackle count with 14, but will want to eradicate his ill-discipline.

8. Anton Segner – 6

Had a decent wee burst upfield early in the second half. Scrambled well to ground the ball inside his own in-goal area when Moana Pasifika. Completed all eight of his tackle attempts.

9. Finlay Christie – 7.5

Great support play and quick distribution skills were crucial to the way in which his side attacked. Provided lots of energy and impetus, as any good halfback should. Fortunate not to have had a long range pass intercepted inside his own in-goal area. Off in the 54th minute.

10. Stephen Perofeta – 6.5

Kicked well out of hand. Would say the same about his goal-kicking had he not rattled the upright twice in the opening stanza and missed a third shot in the second half. A wonderful short ball to his inside put Caleb Clarke over for his try. Had a few flashy touches, but inexplicably dropped the ball cold from a re-start, with the loose pill scooped up by Bryce Heem, who was in an offside position and subsequently gift-wrapped three points for Moana Pasifika. Was otherwise quite tidy, aside from one missed touch-finder from a penalty.

11. Caleb Clarke – 4

Was mostly quiet in the first quarter, but was on hand to score in the 21st minute. That was rendered redundant, though, after he was upended in a terribly innocuous mid-air collisions with Tomasi Alosio, which resulted in the Moana Pasifika wing being forced from the field and Clarke being red carded. A highly dubious call that won’t come without scrutiny in the coming days.

12. Corey Evans – 7.5

Spotted a gap and took it well to stroll over for his first Super Rugby Pacific try in the first half. Continued to look threatening with ball in hand as the half wore on. Good showing by the rookie. Off in the 54th minute.

13. Bryce Heem – 7

Bumped off with ease by Timoci Tavatavanawai inside the opening five minutes. Got revenge on Tavatavanawai on the stroke of half-time by skipping over the top of the winger to dot down right by the sticks. Picked off a wild cut out ball by Moana Pasifika to put his team on the front foot in the lead-up to Clarke’s try. Silly play to pick the ball up from an offside position after Perofeta knocked it on from a re-start.

14. AJ Lam – 6

Had quite a quiet night. First notable action was to concede a breakdown penalty against Tavatavanawai midway through the second half. Cruised in for an easy five-pointer right at the death.

15. Zarn Sullivan – 6

Early yips under the high ball, coughing up the pill at the first time of asking. Was then penalised for not releasing the ball at the breakdown. Kicked well through his trusty left boot all match long.

Reserves

16. Soane Vikena – N/A

On in the 67th minute.

17. Karl Tu’inukuafe – 6

On in the 52nd minute. Won his side a scrum penalty by physically dominating his opposite in the final 10 minutes.

18. Ofa Tu’ungafasi – 8

On in the 52nd minute. Combined well with Tanielu Tele’a to stop a threatening Moana Pasifika attack midway through the first half. Then popped up to create a dangerous attack of his own down the other end of the field, before producing a try-saving tackle to prevent Tavatavanawai from scoring. Certainly worth of a start next week.

19. Luke Romano – 6

On in the 51st minute. Some sloppy lineout work deep in his own territory put some unnecessary pressure on his side.

20. Adrian Choat – N/A

On in the 62nd minute.

21. Sam Nock – 6

On in the 54th minute. Continued to bring the zip that Christie offered all throughout the match.

22. Tanielu Tele’a – 6

On in the 54th minute. Worked well in tandem with Tu’ungafasi to halt Moana Pasifika’s attack.

23. Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens – N/A

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