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Blues get their 1st bonus point from Stormers win

Auckland flyhalf Isa Nacewa scored a try and added 12 points from goalkicks Saturday as the Blues beat South Africa’s Stormers 32-15 in a Super 14 rugby match. Nacewa converted his own 14th-minute try and kicked two penalties at Eden Park to provide all of Auckland’s points as they took a 13-6 halftime lead. They also got their first bonus point of the year.

He added conversions of two of Auckland’s three second-half tries to Keven Mealamu, Anthony Tuitavake and Junior Poluleuligaga, as Auckland took a bonus point from its third win in four games.

Stomers flyhalf Naas Olivier kicked five penalties for the Stormers, including a barrage of three within four minutes in the second half which turned Auckland’s 20-6 lead into a more brittle 20-15 advantage.

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Tuitavake and Poluleuligaga’s late tries re-established a decisive margin and denied the Stormers a losing bonus point.

Olivier, who kicks out of a stooped, praying posture modeled on England’s Jonny Wilkinson, landed five of six shots at goals, his only miss hitting both uprights before bouncing back into play.

Auckland’s performance was more scrambling than coordinated.

Their four-try bonus point was their first of the season but they stay only five notches off the bottom of the championship ladder.

“I think firstly we just wanted to win the game and the bonus point was … well, just a bonus,” said Auckland captain Mealamu.

“The forwards had some good momentum there and we were able to hold onto the ball just long enough to score those tries.

“We were still a bit apprehensive. We hadn’t put two good wins together this season and the boys were happy to get away with it.” The Stormers were vigorous but labored without continuity or real coherence.

They also lacked discipline and were reduced to 13 men for a short period of the second half when two players, including captain De Wet Barry, were in the sin bin. Barry was yellow carded for a late shoulder charge.

“I think we made too many mistakes,” the former Springboks center said. In the first half it was 10 penalties against us and that counted against us even in the second half. Credit to the Blues, they played well and defended well in the second spell.” The lesson of that match seemed to be that when Nacewa fires, Auckland does.

He scored a try among 16 points in its 26-15 win over the ACT Brumbies four weeks ago and another try among 15 points in last week’s 30-17 win over South Africa’s Bulls.

— Scores:
Auckland 32 (Isa Nacewa, Keven Mealamu, Anthony Tuitavake, Junior Poluleuligaga tries; Nacewa 3 conversions, 2 penalties),
Stormers 15 (Naas Olivier 5 penalties).

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