The next generation of Blues players strutted their stuff in a one of match against franchise neighbours the Chiefs in Schools match yesterday afternoon.
Played in perfect conditions at St Kentigern College, the Blues dominated play throughout the 70 minutes but only secured the 13-7 victory in the closing stages of the game.
The low scoring encounter began with Blues fullback Jordan Trainor converting an early penalty for the 3-0 lead.
The Blues were able play at the right end of the park for long spells but were unable to string phases together ñ with just two team trainings under their belt it was understandable why.
The Chiefs had a chance to level through the boot of Bryn Gatland, but his attempt at goal missed.
Despite having the majority of possession late in the half, the Blues were unable to create the break they were working for, and were left with a slender 3-0 halftime lead.
The second half was a tense as the first, Trainor scoring another penalty for the 6-0 lead but his team unable to find the try line.†
Blues forwards worked tirelessly at the breakdown and set piece, in particular stealing countless balls against the throw at the line out.
Their backs showed equal amount of skill, often able to beat the first tackler ñ but all too often let down by trying to push the last pass.
With few opportunities throughout the match the visitors pounced when they had the chance ñ to score the first try.
Viliami Taulini claimed the ball from the line out and sprinted 30 metres to the tryline, Gatland converted to give the Chiefs a 7-6 lead and the Blues had less than 10 minutes to turn things around.
Speedy winger Shelford Murray got the Blues in great position as he went within metres of the try line before the Chiefs gave up a penalty.
The Blues took a quick tap and burrowed over the try line ñ only for their efforts to be held up.
From the resulting five metre scrum the Blues spread the ball wide and finally everything stuck together for winger Jonah Lowe to dive over in the corner. Luke Reed converted the try to give the Blues a 13-7 victory.
Blues Schools coach Tai Lavea said his team deserved the win.
“Considering the lack of prepartion I thought the boys gelled quickly and that first 20 minutes was particularly pleasing.
“All in all the boys can be proud of themselves, they showed real character and backed their skills to still be throwing the ball around in those final minutes,” said Lavea.
New Zealand Secondary Schools selectors were present at the match; players will be named and called into that camp two months.
Blues Schools 13 (J Lowe try, J Trainor 2 pen, L Reed 1 con)
Chiefs Schools 7 (V Taulini try, B Gatland 1 pen)