Watch: Mark Telea's acrobatics cap off try-of-the-season contender
The home team – sitting on nine straight victories – had other ideas, however, and quickly found their form, scoring two tries of their own via Akira Ioane to level up the scores at the end of the first quarter.
From that point on, the Blues were relentless.
Finlay Christie, James Tucker, Hoskins Sotutu and Rieko Ioane all touched down over the next 20 minutes, handing the Blues a 42-14 lead with time almost up in the first half, before Mark Telea capped things off with one of the great individual finishes of the season.
It was rampaging prop Ofa Tuungafasi who got his side on the front foot at the 10-metre line inside Blues territory. Tuungafasi carried the ball in one hand as he fended off the advances of opposite Pone Fa’amausili then offloaded to his front-row partner Kurt Eklund.
Keeping the play going, Christie slung the ball out to the right to Rieko Ioane, who ghosted on the outside of some Rebels defenders before firing the ball out to Telea on the 22-metre line.
The winger barreled down the sideline and with Rebels halfback Joe Powell looming, Telea dived like a gymnast, almost doing a forward roll while planting the ball down in goal just centimetres away from the paint.
It was an excellent team try – as were many of the Blues’ other efforts throughout the first half – but it was the incredible finish from Telea that will have many including the score in the best of the season.
“Cirque du Soleil at Eden Park”
— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) May 6, 2022
Unsurprisingly, social media was awash with fans praising Telea’s touchdown.
That put down from Telea is special
— Andrew Gourdie (@AndrewGourdie) May 6, 2022
— Aiden McLaughlin (@Womble101) May 6, 2022
That last play, started by the run from Ofa and ending with that INSANE TRY by Telea has to be in contention for try of the season. That whole thing was f*cking SPECTACULAR. #BLUvREB
— Felicia Fancybottom (@mytimmymcgee) May 6, 2022
— It’s Mat from New Zealand (@RealMattyWalker) May 6, 2022
— RubaDubDub 🇺🇦 (@BrendonWessels) May 6, 2022
@BluesRugbyTeam That must be try of the season from Mark Telea! Perfect forwards setup followed by pure backs slickness!
— Phil Lewis (@Belushi_NZ) May 6, 2022
While Stephen Perofeta couldn’t quite nail the sideline kick (his first miss of the night), the 47 points scored in the first half marked a new Blues record.
Further, the collective 61 points sat not far behind a few previous records, including when the Crusaders scored 63 on their own in the first half against the Waratahs in 2001, and when the Bulls and Cats combined for 66 points in 2004.
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