The Blues overcame a slow start to dismantle the NZ Barbarians 48-21 at Toll Stadium in Whangarei tonight.
Trailing by 0-14 following an error ridden opening quarter, a double to exciting young wing Melani Nanai got the Blues back into the game.
Flanker Brendon O’Connor, who produced a fine individual performance, also bagged a brace, scoring tries either side of halftime while Northland had a man in the sin bin to give the Blues a 26-14 lead.
Hard working lock Liaki Moli then chimed in with a try, tapping and going from five metres out to drive his way over the line before Peter Saili strolled in for the easiest of tries from a five metre scrum to extend the lead to 36-14 with 60 minutes gone.
George Moala’s class was immediately obvious when he came onto the field in the second half and his searing break led to the Blues’ seventh try of the night.
Despite getting the ball away to David Raikuna, the winger was cut down by flying Fijian Filipo Nakosi. However the ball was recycled and Matt McGahan put on a step five metres out and had enough power and support to fight his way over the line.
The NZ Barbarians managed to hit back with a long range try with seven minutes remaining, but the Blues had the final say as young Pakuranga fullback Nick Smith finished off a well executed move to dive over in the corner.
Blues 48 (Melani Nanai 2, Brendon O’Connor 2, Liaki Moli, Peter Saili, Matt McGahan, Nick Smith tries, Ihaia West 2 con, Matt McGahan 2 con)
NZ Barbarians 21(Whiria Meltzer, Paul Tuaimolo, Jordan Olsen tries, Dan Hawkins 2 con, con)