Blues cheer with late season Force smashing
Sat, 07 Jul 2012 9:09p.m.
The Blues picked up just their third win of the Super Rugby season with a 32-9 four-try win over the Force at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday.
With both teams propping up the table, the game promised little and delivered in spades until late in the game when the Blues kicked into gear.
Ahead 13-9 at the break, and struggling for continuity, the Blues finally found their feet, running in three well-taken tries to put the game beyond reach.
A mishmash of sloppy passing, aimless kicking and handling errors from both teams plagued the first half and a seemingly endless series of scrums made for a stop-start match.
Already without influential loose forwards David Pocock, Ben McCalman and Matt Hodgson, the Force suffered another blow through the late withdrawal of veteran lock Nathan Sharpe with a back injury.
Nevertheless, the visitors looked more likely to score early on, their scrum keeping the Blues under pressure.
Lachie Munro for the Blues and Force first five-eighth Ben Seymour exchanged early penalties, leaving the scores level at 6-6 until the half-hour mark neared.
Promising loose forward Steven Luatua scored the only try of the first half, powering over from close in to secure a narrow 13-9 halftime lead for the Blues.
Neither side managed to establish any continuity or dominance until midway through the second half.
Young Blues fullback Charlie Piutau had looked dangerous, proving an exciting, elusive runner when play came his way, while second five-eighth Ma'a Nonu's passing consistently created extra space out wide.
The pair combined in the 55th minute, Piutau displaying impressive footwork to scythe through and dive over for the Blues' second try.
Nonu picked up their third - and his 100th first class try - just two minutes later and the Blues jumped out to a 27-9 lead with 20 minutes remaining.
Openside flanker Daniel Braid crossed for the bonus-point try with 10 minutes remaining as the Blues recorded their first win since beating the Lions five weeks ago.
Watch the video for all the action.
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