Super Rugby

Blues beat Fijian Drua in Melbourne

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The Blues and Fijian Drua will meet in Super Rugby for the first time; the Kiwis have won eight of their last nine games when facing teams for the first time in the competition (L1).

The Blues have won 14 of their last 15 Super Rugby games (L1), including their last seven on the bounce; the last and only previous time they won more in succession was a 12-game run to the clinch the 1997 Super Rugby title.

  • The Kiwis have won eight of their last 10 Super Rugby games played in Australia (L2), including their last three in succession; their two defeats in that period each came by a margin of no greater than five points.
  • Fijian Drua has lost their last five Super Rugby games in succession since a 31-26 win over the Melbourne Rebels in Round 3 of this season; they’ve scored just 26 points in total across their last two games.
  • The Blues have scored 3.2 points per entry in the attacking 22m this season, the most of any team in the competition, while the Fijian Drua has scored 1.8 points per entry – the fewest of any team.
  • The Fijian Drua have run for 13 metres per possession in the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season, the most of any team in the competition.
  • The Drua have beaten 37 defenders within their own 22m zone this season, nine more than any other team in the competition and 23 more than the Blues (14).

Players to watch

  • Beauden Barrett has made 14 kicks in play per 80 minutes from his 242 minutes played in Super Rugby Pacific this season, the most of any player in the competition.
  • Kurt Eklund has scored four tries across his last three Super Rugby games, as well as laying on one assist in that period.
  • Peni Matawalu has made 2.6 offloads per 80 minutes from his 245 minutes played this Super Rugby Pacific campaign, the most of any player in the competition to have played at least 200 minutes.

Match detail

We are waiting for the kick-off.

In the meantime, why not have a look at the match preview.

1.00: PEEEP! We are underway at AAMI Park, Melbourne.

2.00: Onisi Ratave, under pressure from Mark Telea, takes the mark.

5.00: TRY! AJ Lam picks up Simione Kuruvoli’s loose pass, which sat up in the breadbasket, and the winger sped away to score under the posts. 5-0

6.00: CONVERSION! Beauden Barrett converts. 7-0

8.00: TRY! Fijian Drua hit back after Tuidraki Samusamuvodre gathered Kitione Taliga’s grubber, and drew the Blues’ cover defender before sending Mesulame Dolokoto away on the inside to run around under the sticks. 7-5

10.00: CONVERSION! Simione Kuruvoli levels. 7-7

12.00: Superb defending by Drua’s forwards to stop the Blues’ driving maul and win a scrum.

14.00: Fijian Drua like to take risks, but this isn’t sevens rugby; you cannot run from your own line every time!

19.00: Some good cover defending by the islanders, but the Blues have an attacking lineout.

20.00: TRY! A well-worked lineout sees Lam go close before the ball is shifted to the blindside to Hoskins Sotutu, who draws the defender, and puts Sam Darry away in the corner. 12-7

21.00: CONVERSION! Barrett slots the touchline conversion. 14-7

23.00: Fijian Drua kick a penalty to the opposition’s 22.

25.00: Mesulame Dolokoto overthrows to Ricky Riccitelli, but the Blues’ hooker passes forward, so scrum to the Blues outside their 22.

27.00: The Blues forwards scrum their opponents and win a penalty.

28.00: Drua infringe at the ruck, the Blues get the advantage, but nothing comes from the sustained attack after a forward pass from Barrett to Lam.

31.00: Sotutu is pinged on the ground for not releasing.

32.00: PENALTY! Kuruvoli slots the goal, and cuts the gap to four. 14-10

35.00: Another attack down the righthand sideline ends with a Blues penalty. They went quickly, but some good defending keeps out the Kiwis. Barrett kicks the next penalty to the corner instead of scrumming under the posts.

37.00: More good defending of the driving maul by the Drua; although, the referee doesn’t think so, and talks to captain Meli Derenalagi.

37.00: TRY! Another good lineout move sees Tom Robinson go close off the top. The ball is recycled to Ricky Riccitelli, who is topped before Marcel Renata picks up and dives over to score. 19-10

38.00: CONVERSION! Barrett adds the extras. 21-10

39.00: Sam Darry rips away the ball, Barrett clears, but the opposition come flying back with another sustained attack.

40.00: A knock on by Darry, who tried to steal the ball at the breakdown, gives the Fijians a last shot as the hooter sounds.

42.00: Blues win a penalty for holding, Barrett boots to touch for a final attack for the Kiwis.

43.00: Leon MacDonald’s men go through the phases; however, Telea knocks on with the line at his mercy.

The halftime score was Blues 21 Fijian Drua 10

41.00: PEEEP! We are back underway down under.

44.00: Sotutu goes close but the ball is stripped from the No 8. Kuruvoli picks up the loose ball with one hand and kick-starts an attack from his line, but the flyhalf is brought down by Robinson after clearing.

45.00: Onisi Ratave and Taufa Funaki are both down, the ref has to stop the game, which inturn, stops a Drua counter-attack.

46.00: Another sustained attack leads to two penalty advantages, but for some reason, the Drua are going to take a shot.

47.00: PENALTY! Kuruvoli glances his kick off the right post. 21-13

51.00: TRY! Fijian Drua had all the ball, but Rieko Ioane intercepts Kuruvoli’s loose pass, and races 75 metres to score under the posts. 26-13

51.00: CONVERSION! The kick is good. 28-13

55.00: It’s all Drua since the break.

58.00: TRY! Onisi Ratave powers his way through Ricky Riccitelli, Tom Robinson, and Taufa Funaki for his fifth SR try after a superb rolling maul by the Fijian forwards. 28-18

59.00: MISS! The kick is wide. 28-18

60.00: The Blues are struggling at the restarts, they have lost three tonight, and are racking up the penalties.

63.00: A scrum penalty is kicked to the corner.

64.00: TRY! Lam dances his way inside Leone Nawai and slips Kitione Taliga’s tackle before wriggling over the whitewash for his second try of the night.

66.00: CONVERSION! The kick is good. 35-18

68.00: Drua attacking after another poor scrum, they just cannot get their offloads away, or find holes in the Blues’ defence.

68.00: YELLOW CARD! Karl Tu’inukuafe is off for a toting up offence by the Blues. 35-18

71.00: The Drua have all the possession and territory, the Blues cannot get their hands on the ball or out of their half.

76.00: Big scrum by the islanders, who win a penalty and boot to the corner.

78.00: Otave is tackled into touch by Barrett.

79.00: What is Riccitelli doing? The hooker tried to be smart with a short throw at the front of the lineout, but his throw is not straight.

81.00: An eight-phase attack ends with a penalty to the Fijian Drua under the posts.

83.00: Drua cannot score, Blues hang on and stay top of the log.

FULL TIME

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The final score is Blues 35 (21) Fijian Drua 18 (10)

Scorers

Blues
Tries – Lam (2), Darry, Renata, R. Ioane
Pen –
Con – B. Barrett (5)
Drop –
Cards – Tu’inukuafe (Yellow, 68′)

Fijian Drua
Tries – Dolokoto, Otave
Pen – Kuruvoli (2)
Con – Kuruvoli
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant Ref 1: Nic Berry
Assistant Ref 2: Angus Mabey
TMO: Chris Hart

Teams

Blues: 15 Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens, 14 Mark Telea, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 11 AJ Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett (captain), 9 Taufa Funaki, 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Adrian Choat, 6 Tom Robinson, 5 Sam Darry, 4 James Tucker, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Jordan Lay.

Replacements: 16 Soane Vikena, 17 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18 Marcel Renata, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Anton Segner, 21 Lisati Milo-Harris, 22 Tanielu Tele’a, 23 Jock McKenzie.

Fijian Drua:  15 Kitione Taliga, 14 Tuidraki Samusamuvodre, 13 Kalaveti Ravouvou, 12 Caleb Muntz, 11 Onisi Ratave, 10 Simione Kuruvoli, 9 Peni Matawalu, 8 Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, 7 Rusiate Nasove, 6 Meli Derenalagi (captain), 5 Viliame Rarasea, 4 Chris Minimbi, 3 Manasa Saulo, 2 Mesulame Dolokoto, 1 Meli Tuni.

Replacements:
16 Zuriel Togiatama, 17 Timoci Sauvoli, 18 Jone Koroiduadua, 19 Isoa Nasilasila, 20 Joseva Tamani, 21 Leone Nawai, 22 Apisalome Vota, 23 Frank Lomani.

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