The emotional Clarke, mourning the loss of his grandfather, put in a storming first half performance that had the Blues mounting a 22-10 halftime lead.
Clarke powered over through multiple defenders to score one himself before breaking away downfield on a kick return to setup Rieko Ioane for a long range try that set Eden Park into party-mode.
Caleb Clarke, like Hoskins Sotutu, is another second generation Blues’ player that has come alight this season. Caleb’s father Eroni was a mainstay of the Blues midfield in the 90s, playing 48 times for the club and over 150 times for Auckland at provincial level.
Clarke’s performance had many assured that the former New Zealand under-20 star would don the black jersey at some point in the near future and ‘decimate international defences’.
Wow. Caleb Clarke, 21 years old. Lost his grandfather hours before the game today then gets MVP/Man of the Match. That took some guts. He's looking like a fantastic player in the making and has the character to go with it. Amazing.#BLUvHIG #SuperRugbyAotearoa
— Gregg ??????? (@GreggC_CC) June 27, 2020
If you didn’t love Caleb Clarke already then you should now. #BLUvHIG
— Mark Sadler (@markasadler) June 27, 2020
Caleb Clarke's first half stats:
4 defenders beaten
2 clean breaks
1 try assist
Future All Black.#BLUvHIG
— Dylan Jack (@dylanmattjack) June 27, 2020
Caleb Clarke. He’s pretty good isn’t he. #BLUvHIG
— Scott & Bailey (@ScottBaileys) June 27, 2020
— KANI HASSAN ?? (@hassanyhcooker) June 27, 2020
— Nicholas Cocks (@NickoCocks) June 27, 2020
Caleb Clarke is also an absolute superstar. Unreal. #BLUvHIG
— Rogan (@rmtempler) June 27, 2020
— Matt Gretton (@mattgretton1) June 27, 2020
Caleb Clarke has bossed this half. #BLUvHIG
— Moses Rudende (@rudende) June 27, 2020
Caleb Clarke has been incredible. He is going to decimate internationals defences whenever they get to happen again. #BLUvHIG
— Ruck 'n' Roll (@RnRRugby) June 27, 2020
#BLUvHIG Is it me, or did Caleb Clarke spend the lockdown packing on about 20kg's of muscle? Guy's a serious unit.
— Ed Ansell (@EdAnsell1) June 27, 2020
The Blues have found the right balance within the team that has allowed the outside backs to flourish with the arrival of fullback Beauden Barrett.
Right wing Mark Telea has also been a revelation this season, and the move of Rieko Ioane to outside centre is paying off.
With midfielders Ma’a Nonu, Sonny Bill Williams, and TJ Faiane on the books last season, competition was tough for playing time.
Caleb Clarke earned a player rating of 8.5/10 from RugbyPass writer Mike Rehu for last night’s performance, the highest of any Blues player on the field, continuing his excellent form after an 8.5 against the Hurricanes.
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