THE BLUE PRINT
Match 1: Blues vs Highlanders
Where: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
When: Saturday 18 April, 7.35pm
Score: Blues 24 Highlanders 30
Halftime: Blues 0 Highlanders 24
Tries: Keven Mealamu 2, Patrick Tuipulotu, George Moala
Conversions: Dan Bowden 1, Ihaia West 1
BEST & FAIREST (Selected by Mediaworks)
5 Points: George Moala
At his running best, busting tackles seemingly at will especially when the Blues dearly wanted some front-foot ball. Strong in defence also. His best game of the season.
3 Points: Charlie Faumuina†
Just 35 minutes of rugby coming off the bench, but showed his enormous skills in the open ñ both running and passing, and anchored a much-improved Blues scrum in the second half.
1 Point: Akira Ioane
Teenager making his Super rugby debut. While there were some errors, he showed no shirking from contact, made some telling tackles and turnovers and ran impressively with ball in hand.
WHAT THE COACH HAD TO SAY:
Very disappointing first half ñ our worst of the season. It was hugely frustrating and they played into the Highlanders hands. But the second half we showed when we play directly and with real intent that we can score tries against the best teams.
WHAT THE PLAYERS HAD TO SAY:
That was frustrating really because in the second half we did what we should have done in the first half. We did it a bit but the second half was better when we ran straighter and really wanted it. But we still made some mistakes that cost us the game. We just need to keep working hard on improving.
Next Match: Vs Crusaders in Christchurch