Super rugby Trans Tasman

Blues batter toothless Rebels

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The Blues thrashed the Melbourne Rebels 3-50 in a one-sided Round One Super Rugby Trans-Tasman contest at AAMI Park, Melbourne.

Hoskins Sotutu and Akira Ioane bath bagged braces in the record rout on a cold evening in Victoria as the Blues romped to victory against a toothless Rebels outfit.

It is the first time the Blues have beaten another Super Rugby franchise by more than 40 points since 2010 when they beat the Lions 56-10.

Leon MacDonald’s men scored six tries while keeping the Melbourne Rebels tryless. In truth, the Rebels could play another 80 minutes and still not score.

They even conceded two tries while playing with 15v14 on either side of halftime.

The Blues start slow but blow away opposition as the Rebels wilted

The Blues took a 17-3 lead into the shed after a late Tom Robinson try after the first-half hooter as well as three Otere Black goals and one long-range Zarn Sullivan penalty.

Adrain Choat got yellow carded two minutes before the break, but the Blues managed to score a try against the run of play.

Hoskins Sotutu scored twice in 10 minutes, which kickstarted his side. The Blues scored two more times to kill the game, and claim the bonus-point win.

Akira Ioane and AJ Lam scored soon after each other before Ioane bulldozed his way over after a poor Rebels lineout. Plummer converted twice to bring up the half-century for the Auckland men.

All the Melbourne Rebels had to show for their first-half effort was a lone Matt To’omua penalty. They really have struggled to score tries.

Dave Wessels’ old side only managed 13 tries in Super Rugby AU, with their chief try-scorer and destroyer Marika Koroibete not scoring once.

The bluntness continued. When the Rebels did go close, they gave away a penalty, or lost the ball in contact, or lost their own set-piece – such profligacy always gets punished at this level.

The Rebels stayed in the game but got blown away in the second stanza as Blues’ set-piece dominance destroyed the home team

The Blues pack dominated their opponents, winning three scrum penalties in a row which allowed the Blues’ goal-kickers to open up a nine-point lead after 33 minutes.

Bryce Heem had a try chalked off by the TMO on the half-hour because Rieko Ioane’s fore-arm had knocked a loose To’omua pass forward to the winger.

It did not matter for the visitors as they got their try in overtime when Robinson finished off a free-flowing attack from the half’s last scrum.

The Rebels will feel aggrieved with how they conceded the score, especially because in the previous series, they were a man up and camped on the Blues try line.

Three driving mauls were illegally collapsed by the Kiwis, which resulted in Adrian Choat being sin-binned for cynical play.

Referee Brendon Pickerill might have missed a trick because a penalty try might have been the order of the day.

As is always the case, the Blues stole the next lineout, went down the field, and won a scrum. The visitors then went through the phases before scoring.

To make matters worse, the Blues scored another try while down to 14 men when Sotutu crashed over from close range, seven minutes after the interval.

Black’s conversion meant the Rebels had conceded 12 points in the time the opposition was undermanned.

The floodgates opened as Blues forwards found their way over the whitewash

Melbourne’s pack began to disintegrate, they lost lineouts, scrums, and got smashed at the breakdown by the Blues’ back row.

Sotutu had his second from a powerful scrum on Melbourne’s goal line. The No. 8 picked up the ball and reached over to score. Black converted.

Sotutu’s second try kickstarted the Blues, who scored three times in 10 minutes. The Rebels, however, wilted.

Akira Ioane finished off a sublime move after Gerard Cowley-Tuoti’s midfield linebreak. Cowley-Tuoti raced from halfway to the Rebels’ 22.

Finlay Christie recycled to Harry Plummer, who played Ioane. The loose forward sold a dummy before crossing for another try.

Five minutes later, Lam found himself alone on the lefthand sideline. Plummer spotted the winger and aimed a pin-point crossfield kick to Lam, who gathered unchallenged and walked in for an easy score.

Plummer’s conversion opened up a 40-point lead.

Final Score: Melbourne Rebels 3 (3) Blues 50 (17)

Scorers

Rebels
Tries –
Pen – To’omua
Con –
Drop –
Cards –

Blues
Tries – Robinson, Sotutu (2), A. Ioane (2), Lam
Pen – Black (3), Sullivan
Con – Black (2), Plummer (2)
Drop –
Cards – Choat (Yellow, 38′)

Match Officials
Referee: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Ref 1: Amy Perrett
Assistant Ref 2: Reuben Keane
TMO: Ian Smith

Teams

Melbourne Rebels

15 Tom Pincus, 14 Frank Lomani, 13 Stacey Ili 12 Campbell Magnay, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Matt To’omua (captain), 9 Joe Powell, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Richard Hardwick, 6 Josh Kemeny, 5 Ross Haylett-Petty, 4 Rob Leota, 3 Cabous Eloff, 2 Jordan Uelese, 1 Cameron Orr

Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Matt Gibbon, 18 Lucio Sordoni, 19 Steve Cummins, 20 Michael Icely, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Carter Gordon, 23 Lachie Anderson

Blues

15 Zarn Sullivan, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 TJ Faiane, 11 AJ Lam, 10 Otere Black, 9 Finlay Christie, 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Adran Choat, 6 Tom Robinson (captain), 5 Josh Goodhue, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuoti, 3 Marcel Renata, 2 Kurt Eklund, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe

Replacements: 16 Soane Vikena, 17 Ofa Tuungafasi, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Jacob Pierce, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Harry Plummer, 23 Mark Telea

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