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Rene Ranger inspires Blues to Rebels victory

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Article Published: Friday 22 April 2011|

Blues winger Rene Ranger inspired the Blues to a 40-23 bonus point victory over the Rebels at North Harbour Stadium on Good Friday.

Ranger scored the first two tries for the Blues and threatened throughout the match to score his third for a hat-trick of tries.

In total the Blues scored 6 tries over the course of the match but did not keep up the intensity for the full 80 minutes as they started strongly and finished strongly but went missing in the middle.

With six minutes left on the clock the Blues were leading by five points and were under pressure from the Rebels.

While Blues playmaker Stephen Brett had a poor night the boot Rebels playmaker Danny Cipriani did not miss a kick all night and kept his team in the match.

On defence however Cipriani had a game that he will want to forget especially since he went into the match leading the missed tackle count for the tournament at 35 missed tackles.

The Rebels scored two first half tries which were both high quality efforts especially their second try when Cooper Vuna cut through the Blues try and scored a try when it had looked like nothing was on offer.

The Rebels defence was again their achilles heel and still look very much like a team in their first season of Super Rugby as they are. The flashes of brilliance in attack will give the Melbourne fans much hope as their defensive woes can be solved in time.

The result moves the Blues up to first place on the Super Rugby table although the Crusaders and Reds still have to play this weekend.

For the second week in a row the Blues struggled in the second half after doing their best work in the opening period when they raced to an early 17-3 lead.

With six minutes remaining the Rebels had fought back to be within striking distance of an upset as they narrowed the margin to five points, trailling 23-28, before the Blues sealed the outcome with two late tries.

They are now unbeaten since the second round and their fifth bonus-point win from nine games moved them from third to first ahead of the Reds and Crusaders who still have to play this weekend.

Boosted by the return of Ali Williams and Tony Woodcock, the Blues stunned the Rebels with a lightning start, which resulted in Rene Ranger making a mockery of their defence in a charge down the left flank to score.

Before the game was 20 minutes old the Blues were out to a 17-3 lead with a second try to Ranger and one down the right wing to Joe Rokocoko and a runaway win looked on the cards.

But the Rebels recovered from the onslaught to strike back with two tries in five minutes by wings Cooper Vuna and Lachlan Mitchell while two penalties by Stephen Brett kept the Blues in front 23-17 at halftime.

Benson Stanley secured the bonus point with an individual piece of work early in the second half when he ripped the ball off Danny Cipriani and raced 50 metres to the line.

The Blues cause was not helped by Brett having an off night with the boot, succeeding with just three of his shots at goal, and the Rebels were able to close the gap when they took control in the middle of the second half.

Although they were unable to score tries, the points came through two penalties by Cipriani to be within five points.

But the Rebels quest for for an upset win was turned on its head as the Blues regained their cohesion, which resulted in tries to Jared Payne and Luke Braid in the closing minutes.

Final Score Blues 40 Rebels 23


Tries - R. Ranger 2, J. Rokocoko, B Stanley, J Payne, L Braid
Pen - S Brett 2
Con - S Brett, L McAlister
Drop -
Cards -

Tries - C Vuna, L Mitchell
Pen - D Cipriani 3
Con - D Cipriani 2
Drop -
Cards -

Match Officials
Referee: Jonathon White (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Chris Pollock (New Zealand), Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Television match official: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)


Blues :15 Isaia Toeava, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Jared Payne, 12 Benson Stanley, 11 Rene Ranger, 10 Stephen Brett, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Anthony Boric, 3 John Afoa, 2 Keven Mealamu (c), 1 Tony Woodcock.

Reserves: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Tevita Mailau, 18 Filo Paulo, 19 Chris Lowrey, 20 Toby Morland, 21 Luke McAlister, 22 Lachie Munro.

Melbourne Rebels :1 Rodney Blake, 2 Ged Robinson, 3 Greg Somerville, 4 Alister Campbell, 5 Hugh Pyle, 6 Jarrod Saffy, 7 Michael Lipman, 8 Gareth Delve (vc), 9 Nick Phipps, 10 Danny Cipriani, 11 Cooper Vuna, 12 Stirling Mortlock (c), 13.Julian Huxley , 14 Lachlan Mitchell ,15  Richard Kingi

Replacements : 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Laurie Weeks, 18 Hoani Macdonald, 19 Tim Davidson, 20 Afusipa Taumoepeau , 21 James Hilgendorf, 22 Luke Rooney

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