Blues receive confidence boost

Blues receive confidence boost

The Blues received a real confidence-boost ahead of next week’s opening round of the Investec Super Rugby Championship.

They have accounted for the Chiefs 24-12 at ECOLight Stadium in Pukekohe, scoring four tries to two in brilliant conditions.

The Chiefs made the early running, rewarded with two first half tries on the back of some telling breaks from Blues mistakes.

A driving try to Patrick Tuipulotu brought the score back to 5-12 behind at halftime.

Things were made more challenging with a red card to skipper Jerome Kaino 10 minutes into the second half, after striking Chiefs prop Pauliasi Manu. Kaino swung his arm to free it after being held in a ruck, collecting Manu with an open hand.

“I did not mean it. Everyone knows it is not how I play the game,” said Kaino.

It presented the Blues with a test of playing 30 minutes with 14 players, in which time they dominated possession and territory, scoring three unanswered tries in a strong display.

“The boys really rallied well in that time. Once we got back to our game plan, and the players stuck to doing their roles and keeping things simple, we did well,” Kaino said.

Key among this was Tuipulotu and prop Charlie Faumuina, who prospered in open play, highlighted with a brilliant pick-up behind his back and key pass to put Lolagi Visinia clear for the try.

Kaino praised his senior players – Tuipulotu, Faumuina and James Parsons for a sterling second half, a powerful game on attack and defence from Male Sa’u and teenage Sevens star Rieko Ioane for his defensive efforts.

“We have some confidence that our game can work. But it is pre-season and all of that counts for nothing. Now the coaches have a really hard job to decide on 23 players for our first game against the Highlanders.”

The Blues meet the Highlanders in the opening round of Super Rugby at Eden Park this Friday at 7.35pm.

Scorers:

Blues 24 (Patrick Tuipulotu, Bryn Hall, Lolagi Visinia, Matt Duffie tries; Ihaia West 1 con, Billy Guyton 1 con)

Chiefs 12 (Charlie Ngatai, Seta Tamanivalu tries; Aaron Cruden 1 con).