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Blues end losing streak with bonus point Force win

Daniel Braid scored the bonus point try for the Blues

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Article Published: Saturday 7 July 2012|

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The Blues ended a three match losing streak when they comfortably beat the Western Force 32-9 in Auckland with a bonus point.

The result has no effect on the play off standings as both teams are already out of the running for the play offs.

The Blues outscored the Force by four tries to none and picked up the bonus point for the fourth try which moves them above the Force in the Super Rugby standings.

Blues Fullback Charles Piutau scored a try on debut and All Blacks centre Ma'a Nonu scored his 100th first class try in the match.

The newcomer and the veteran produced consecutive tries in the 55th and 57th minutes while flankers Steven Luatua and Luke Braid also scored tries to earn the Blues their third win from 15 matches. 

The result was only the Blues third win in a dismal season in which they started as one of the favourites.

Fullback Piutau, rushed in to the Blues side as a late replacement for injured former All Black Rudi Wulf, proved the gamebreaker in an untidy, error-strewn affair, with a try 15 minutes into the second half.

It sparked a scoring spree by the Blues who piled on an unanswered 19 points after the break when they held a narrow 13-9 lead.

Until Piutau's try the match was in the balance, with the Force punishing the Blues at set pieces but failing to take advantage. Both sides squandered possession with misdirected passes and unnecessary penalties.

Flanker Steve Luatua, another impressive Blues newcomer, scored the only try in the first half when he forced his way over the line. Lachie Munro added the conversion and two penalties.

Captain Keven Mealamu attributed the Blues high error count to rustiness after not having played for five weeks.

"It's been a while since the boys have been out there together so it was good to see them stick in there and really get things clicking in the second half," he said.

"One of the positives to take out of this is we have some young guys coming through and they really stepped up. So we've got to take those little things out of what has been a trying season."

The Force were down on manpower with David Pocock out through injury and captain Nathan Sharpe a late withdrawal after he tweaked his back on the way to the ground.

But they managed to stay in touch through the first 40 minutes with three penalties from fly-half Ben Seymour, and threatened the Blues line for the first 15 minutes of the second half before Piutau's try turned the game.

The Blues fullback displayed the skills which made him a standout player with the world champion New Zealand Sevens side as he stepped in and out to beat Force winger Napolioni Nalaga and then score in the corner.

From the restart the Blues were immediately on the attack again with replacement Peter Saili sending Ma'a Nonu over for their third try.

Luke Braid scored the Blues bonus point try 10 minutes from time after Force scrum-half Josh Holmes spilled the ball from a five-metre scrum.

Munro converted three of the Blues tries and kicked two penalties to finish with a match tally of 12 points.

Final Score Blues 32 (13) Force 9 (9)

Scorers

Blues
Tries - S. Luatua, C. Piutau, M. Nonu, L. Braid
Pen - L. Munro 2
Con - L. Munro 3
Drop -
Cards -

Force
Tries -
Pen - B. Seymour 3
Con -
Drop -
Cards -

Match Officials
Referee:
Andrew Lees
Assistant Ref 1: Glen Jackson
Assistant Ref 2: Sheldon Eden-Whaitiri
TMO: Ben Skeen

Teams

Blues

1. Tony Woodcock, 2. Keven Mealamu, 3. Tevita Mailau, 4. Liaki Moli, 5. Andrew Van der Heijden, 6. Steven Luatua, 7. Daniel Braid, 8. Luke Braid, 9. Piri Weepu, 10. Michael Hobbs, 11. Rene Ranger, 12. Ma’a Nonu, 13. Francis Saili, 14. Lachie Munro, 15. Charles Piutau.

Replacements: 16. Tom McCartney, 17. Angus Ta’avao, 18. Chris Lowrey, 19. Peter Saili, 20. Alby Mathewson, 21. Orene Ai'i, 22. Hadleigh Parkes.

Western Force

1. Pek Cowan, 2. Nathan Charles, 3. Salesi Manu, 4. Toby Lynn, 5. Ollie Atkins, 6. Richard Brown, 7. Angus Cottrell, 8. Lachlan McCaffery, 9. Brett Sheehan (c), 10. Ben Seymour, 11. Napolioni Nalaga, 12. Winston Stanley, 13. Will Tupou, 14. Nick Cummins, 15. Alfie Mafi.

Reserves: 16. Ben Whittaker, 17. Ruan Smith, 18. T. Faulkner, 19. Anare Koliavu, 20. Josh Holmes, 21. Kyle Godwin, 22. Patrick Dellit

 
 
 
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