Super Rugby

Rieko Ioane scores four as Blues beat Sunwolves




The Blues beat the Sunwolves 28-20 in a scrappy game at QBE Stadium, North Harbour.

Rieko Ioane scored four tries to stave off a spirited Sunwolves for the Blues’ first win of the 2019 season, and only their second win in 10 Super Rugby home games.

The 21-year-old scored twice either side of the break to secure a rare win for the beleaguered Auckland franchise.

The winger becomes the fourth Blues‘ player to score four tries in a Super Rugby match, joining Mils Muliaina, Joeli Vidiri and Doug Howlett.

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Uwe Helu crashed over in the 63rd-minute, to reduce the deficit to a one-score ball-game after Semisi Masirewa’s yellow card. Ioane got over for his fourth, soon after.

But the Sunwolves could never keep possession for a sustained period. They were camped inside their half as the Blues had the majority of possession and territory.

The pressure told when Nathan Vella was the second Japanese player to be sin-binned for a deliberate knock-down.

Otera Black secured the game with the resulting penalty, to the relief of his side and Head Coach Leon MacDonald.

Ioane’s first-half double keeps Blues’ noses in front

Ioane’s double gave the Blues a slender two-point advantage at the break of a scrappy game, littered with penalties and handling errors.

Rikiya Matsuda scored all the Sunwolves‘ points in the first half, kicking two penalties and converting his 30th-minute try to put his side back in front 8-13.

Ioane crossed for his second on the stroke of half time to level after Matsuda’s controversial try.

The ball looked to have been knocked on in the build-up.

Number eight Rahboni Warren Vosayaco after he collected Michael Little’s behind-the-back pass, appeared to knee the ball forward before gathering at his second attempt.

It did not matter, as the Blues ramped up the heat on the Sunwolves after the interval, running in two more Ioane tries and deny the visitors a losing bonus-point.

Slow start as teams go tit for tat in an ill-disciplined start

Matsuda and Plummer traded penalties before Ioane scored the game’s first try. Tanielu Tele’a went close, but the ball was recycled wide to the winger for the five-pointer.

The Sunwolves hit back through their stand-off after Little’s brilliance and Vosayaco’s nimble hands.

Penalties had mounted as well as the turnovers and mistakes. Jamie Booth wreaked havoc around the fringes, constantly making sniping breaks around the rucks.

He was a constant menace, breaking through holes in the blue wall.

The scrumhalf was the inspiration for most of his side’s attacks, but the support was slow to keep up, allowing the Blues’ cover defence to get back and halt Tony Brown’s men.

Sonny Bill Williams was immense, leading by example and setting his backline away with his usual mesmerising tricks.

Brotherly love

Akira Ioane supplied the Blues’ second from a set-piece. He picked the ball out of the scrum and sent his younger brother away. Rieko used his speed to beat Masirewa and level the scores.

It was not long after the restart that Ioane had his treble, strolling over untouched after the Blues’ decoy runners sucked in the Sunwolves defenders and left the flyer open in the wide channel.

Despite the tries, the visitors hung in, staying in the game through dogged defence. On 56 minutes, Masirewa, carded for a cynical foul on his goal line, was sent to the naughty step.

Williams opted for a scrum, and the Blues won a free-kick. Akira Ioane took it quickly; the ball was recycled and sent to Gerard Cowley-Tuioti.

The big lock did well to get a long pass to Rieko Ioane, who dotted down for his fourth.

Helu scored soon after, and Matsuda made it 25-20 with another conversion. Black missed a chance to extend the Blues’ lead from the tee.

But Vella’s sin-binning provided Black with another opportunity to calm his side’s nerves, which he did, slotting the three points and sealing a much-needed win.

Final Score: Blues 28 (15) Sunwolves 20 (13)


Tries – R. Ioane (4)
Pen – Plummer, Black
Con – Plummer
Drop –
Cards –

Tries – Matsuda, Helu
Pen – Matsuda (2)
Con – Matsuda (2)
Drop –
Cards – Masirewa (Yellow, 56′), Vella (Yellow, 74′)

Match Officials
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 1: James Munro
Assistant Ref 2: Dan Waenga
TMO: Glenn Newman


Blues: 15 Melani Nanai, 14 Tanielu Tele’a, 13 Thomas Faiane, 12 Sonny Bill Williams (captain), 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Harry Plummer, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Tom Robinson, 5 Josh Goodhue, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Sione Mafileo, 2 James Parsons, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe.

Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Marcel Renata, 18 Lua Li, 19 Scott Scrafton, 20 Dalton Papalii, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Otere Black, 23 Levi Aumua.

Sunwolves: 15 Semisi Masirewa, 14 Gerhard Van Den Heever, 13 Jason Emery, 12 Michael Little (captain), 11 Jamie Henry, 10 Rikiya Matsuda, 9 Jamie Booth, 8 Rahboni Warren Vosayaco, 7 Shahel Matshuhashi, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 James Moore, 4 Tom Rowe, 3 Hiroshi Yamashita, 2 Atsushi Sakate, 1 Pauliasi Manu.

Replacements: 16 Nathan Vella, 17 Alex Woonton, 18 Asaeli Ai Valu, 19 Uwe Helu, 20 Dan Pryor, 21 Keisuke Uchida, 22 Hayden Parker, 23 Phil Burleigh.

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  1. Pingback: Rieko Ioane stars as Blues beat Highlanders - Super Rugby | Super 15 Rugby and Rugby Championship News,Results and Fixtures from Super XV Rugby

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