Hertford Highlander

Match Review – Blues runover Rebels

Written by Gwyn Pratley (Hertford Highlander)

Posted in :All Blacks, In the news, Super Rugby, Wallabies on 22 Apr 2011 at 23:34
Tagged with : , , , , , , , ,

All Blacks.com reports it wasn’t exactly a Good Friday for the Blues but they will take their bonus point 40-23 victory over the gallant Melbourne Rebels at North Harbour Stadium knowing their inconsistent demons still plague them.

The fourth-placed Blues resumed their blistering intensity from the first-half display against the Waratahs last week, running in three tries in the first 20 minutes, to set up their seventh win of their year with six tries in total.

The Rebels fell to their sixth defeat after managing two tries. They were kept in the game by Danny Cipriani’s boot.

But it was a muddle performance from the home side as the battled inconsistency after that initial onslaught.

Mark Gerrard’s late withdrawal forced a backline reshuffle for Super Rugby newbie the Rebels, who showed triumphs over the Hurricanes, Brumbies and Western Force were no flukes. Fullback Julian Huxley moved to centre and Richard Kingi came off the bench and into the No.15 jersey.

Benson Stanley starred after starting ahead of Luke McAlister at second five-eighths. He set up the Blues’ first two tries, scored a superb solo effort and was rock solid on defence. His first pass put Rene Ranger on the outside and the left winger pushed off a woeful attempt from Danny Cipriani to finish inside two minutes.

Ranger then collected his brace after a Jerome Kaino snaffle. In-form halfback Alby Mathewson found space down the blindside and nudged and an intelligent grubber which Ranger pounced on to claim his sixth five-pointer of 2011. Unfortunately for the Blues, Stephen Brett left his kicking boots on the other side of the bridge, kicking three from eight (missing 14 points).

Cipriani didn’t have the same troubles with accuracy but he couldn’t hide out on the wing. The first five-eighths’ turnstile tackling cost the visitors yet again as All Black wing Joe Rokocoko crossed for the Blues’ third and a 17-3 lead.

At that point, the match threatened to get away from the Rebels, but they discovered attacking enterprise to mount a much-needed revival.

From a standing start, former Newcastle Knights winger and Tongan World Cup member Cooper Vuna made something from nothing to burst through. All of a sudden, after Cipriani’s conversion, it was a seven-point margin, before Brett punished an infringement.

But the Rebels weren’t despondent. No.8 Gareth Delve sent Lachlan Mitchell in at the corner after brilliantly offloading before being bundled into touch in a crunching Ali Williams tackle. That kept Melbourne in the contest, down 17-23 at half-time.

Brett shanked two penalties to open the second spell, but Stanley gave his side their bonus point. The former All Black No.12 showed his class as he effortlessly ripped the ball off Cipriani, sprinted 50m and fended off Delve in the process. The crowd booed Brett as he missed the extras from right infront.

McAlister replaced Brett as pivot with 30-minutes to play.

While his defence was average, Cipriani’s goal kicking was flawless and kept his side in the game. His third penalty narrowed the gap to just five points, 23-28, as returning veterans Stirling Mortlock and Tony Woodcock finished their nights.

The Rebels battled hard and probably had the better of the second-half but were unable to covert pressure into points. They made crucial errors while attacking the Blues line and were ultimately punished when centre Jarred Payne and flanker Luke Braid finished the job with six minutes remaining.

Scorers were:

Blues 40 (Rene Ranger 2, Joe Rokocoko, Benson Stanley, Jarred Payne, Luke Braid tries; Stephen Brett, Luke McAlister con, Brett 2 pen)

Rebels 23 (Cooper Vuna, Lachlan Mitchell tries; Danny Cipriani 2 con, Cipriani 3 pen)


  • Blues look like they are getting the speed wobbles !

  • Comment 1, posted at 22.04.11 23:37:30 by Hertford Highlander Reply
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    Hertford Highlander
  • They’re still top of the log, though. Can’t write them off 😉

  • Comment 2, posted at 23.04.11 06:26:20 by robdylan Reply
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  • No news on whether Braid is getting cited for his head charge in the 60 to 61st minute?

  • Comment 3, posted at 23.04.11 06:53:02 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Good game for my different fantasy leagues!!

  • Comment 4, posted at 23.04.11 07:43:07 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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    Richard Ferguson
  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 4) : same here, and sb, good morning all… Great day of rugga ahead

  • Comment 5, posted at 23.04.11 07:48:19 by franshark Reply

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