The Blues Development team capped off a winning campaign with a 31-14 victory over the Cook Islands at Bell Park last night.
In their last match before World Cup qualifying, the Cook Islands came out firing and put the Blues Development team under pressure.
But with hopes of maintaining their unbeaten run in 2014 the Blues crossed for three late tries to seal the result.
It started positively for the Blues with Matt McGahan slotting a penalty in the second minute.
That was it for a while, as the Cook Islands controlled territory for the majority of the first half. Their aggressive work at the breakdown saw them steal a lot of Blues ball, and they were rewarded with a try in the 13th minute.
Despite having few chances, the Blues defence held strong throughout the Cook Islands onslaught.
It took half an hour, but finally the Blues found their rhythm on attack, Simon Healy and Pele Cowley combining to put Francis Saili in for the five pointer. McGahan converted to give the Blues a 10-7 lead which they held into the half time break.
The Cook Islands rang in the changes at halftime and were able to capitalise after the Blues were shown a yellow card. After setting a scrum in midfield the Cook Islands executed a perfect backline move to breeze through the Blues defence and in for the points.
The game opened up in the closing 20 minutes and the Blues ran in three tries.
Winger Tutu Tairea grabbed a brace, showing his power and speed on both occasions, while replacement loose forward Zac Judge crossed late in the match to stretch the score out to 31-14.
The win is the Blues Development team’s sixth of the season, after a clean sweep of three victories over the Chiefs Development team and success over the New Zealand and Samoa Under 20 teams.
Blues Development 31 (T Tairea 2, F Saili, Z Judge tries, M McGahan 4 con, 1 pen)
Cook Islands 14
Cook Islands 14