Our Blues are back at Eden Park this weekend and looking for back-to-back wins against a battling Western Force side.
Both teams’ fortunes couldn’t have been more different last weekend. It’s fair to say that the Western Force’s tour of New Zealand did not get off to the start they would have wanted, soundly beaten 45-17 by the unbeaten Crusaders. Meanwhile, our side ruthlessly dispatched of the Bulls, 38-14 at QBE Stadium.
Not to say that this match will be easy. The Western Force will be desperately looking to get their second win this season, after beating the Reds in round two. On their day, they’re a capable side with a number of Wallabies in their ranks.
Points by half
The Blues have scored most of their points in the second half (88), and rank fourth overall in this category. The Western Force, on the other hand, has scored the second lowest amount of points in second halves so far this season (24).
So, as our resident statistician tells us, even if the scores are close at half time, you can expect the Blues to eventually pull away as the Force tires.
History on our side
Fortunately, history will be on our side going into this match, which kicks off at an earlier time of 5:15pm. In ten matches since the Western Force’s debut in 2006, we’ve only lost once, with one draw and nine victories.
Last season was a close one, though. Played out in torrential rain in Perth, the 14-men Blues had to repel a strong second-half fight back to eventually prevail 17-13.
As a result, we’re currently on a four-match winning streak against the Force, dating back to a hard-fought 22-all draw way back in 2011.
2006: Blues 39-8 at Albany
2007: Blues 33-6 at Perth
2008: Force 27-17 at Albany
2009: Blues 25-19 at Perth
2010: Blues 38-17 at Auckland
2011: Drawn 22-22 at Perth
2012: Blues 32-9 at Auckland
2014: Blues 40-14 at Perth
2015: Blues 41-24 at Auckland
2016: Blues 17-13 at Perth
Matches: 10. Blues 8 wins; Force 1, drawn 1
Highest scores: Blues 41 at Auckland 2015; Force 27 at Albany 2008.
Biggest winning margins: Blues 31 (39-8) at Albany 2006; Force 10 (27-17) at Albany 2008.