The Blues extended their unbeaten in Super rugby to four matches by beating the New South Wales Waratahs 32-29 at their home ground Eden Park in Auckland.
The result is the first time since 2011 that the Blues have won four consecutive matches against any opposition.
Waratahs back Israel Folau scored his team’s opening try and in doing so he became Super rugby’s all time leading try scorer with 60 tries overtaking Doug Howlett.
The Blues were in control of the scoreboard from the start and went out to a ten point lead after as many minutes.
Otere Black was the first to score with a penalty and that was followed by a try by flanker Tom Robertson. Black converted the try.
Ma’a Nonu showed that he has lost little of the skills that made him an All Black by setting up Caleb Clarke for the Blues second try – which was also converted by Black.
In the 24th minute Folau put the Waratahs on the scoreboard and set the new try scoring record after Foley put in a high cross kick for the Wallaby fullback who grabbed the ball in the air and dropped to the grass to score. Foley added the conversion.
Folau came close to scoring again when the Waratahs kicked out to Cameron Clark on the wing. Clark got to the ball but had to pass to Folau as the Blues defensive line had caught up on both and Folau was tackled into touch.
The Waratahs added a second try through a rolling maul which carried Will Miller over the line shortly before the break. Foley added the conversion to take the half time score to 17-14 in favour of the hosts.
The Blues opened the scoring in the second when TJ Faiane dived for the line from a quick tap and just managed to get the ball to it. Otere Black was unable to convert the try.
The Waratahs were next to score as Folau sucked in two Blues defenders and offloaded to Alex Newsome who darted for the corner and scored. This time Black was on target with the conversion.
Foley reduced the points deficit with a penalty but the Waratahs then made a mess of their passing after a line out which allowed Rieko Ioane to snag the ball and pass to Ma’a Nonu who demonstrated that he still has some pace by beating the Waratahs backs to the try-line for the Blues fourth try.
As the Blues looked like they would comfortably win their fourth consecutive match the Waratahs hit back with a try from replacement Jake Gordon five minutes from time. Foley was unable to add the conversion which would have brought the Waratahs to within a point.
Sensing that the Waratahs could snatch a late win the Blues showed that they really have turned a corner as they held on to the ball through 21 phases to wind down the clock. As the siren sounded the Blues won a penalty which they kicked into touch to end the contest and secure the win.
Next week in Round 9 the Blues play the Chiefs in Hamilton while the Waratahs have a bye before returning in the tenth round with a match against the Rebels in Sydney.
Final Score Blues 32 (17) Waratahs 29 (14)
Tries – T.Robinson, C, Clarke, TJ Faiane, M.Nonu
Pen -O.Black 2
Con – O.Black 3
Tries – I.Folau, W.Miller,A.Newsome, J.Gordon
Pen – B.Foley
Con – B.Foley 3
Referee: Federico Anselmi
Assistant Ref 1:Nick Briant
Assistant Ref 2:Glen Jackson
TMO : Glenn Newman
15 Melani Nanai, 14 Caleb Clarke, 13 TJ Faiane, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Otere Black, 9 Jonathan Ruru, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson (co-captain), 6 Tom Robinson, 5 Josh Goodhue, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu (co-captain), 3 Sione Mafileo, 2 James Parsons, 1 Alex Hodgman
Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Marcel Renata, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 20 Dalton Papalii, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Harry Plummer, 23 Michael Collins
15 Israel Folau, 14 Cam Clark, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Karmichael Hunt, 11 Alex Newsome, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Will Miller, 6 Jack Dempsey, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Ned Hanigan, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Harry Johnson-Holmes
Replacements: 16 Andrew Tuala, 17 Rory O’Connor, 18 Chris Talakai, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Lachlan Swinton, 21 Jake Gordon, 22 Kurtley Beale, 23 Lalakai Foketi