The Blues kept up their unbeaten run at home, downing a woeful Waratahs side 21-13 in their Vodacom Super Rugby match in Auckland on Friday.
The Blues manhandled the Tahs backline – and in particular playmaker Kurtley Beale – as they stopped the visitors momentum and scored when it mattered to win the match in a workmanlike manner.
Led from the front by inspirational All Black Jerome Kaino, the Blues certainly dominated up front and did more than enough to ensure they took the four points on offer, taking advantage of a Waratahs team that looked jaded an unable to find a plan B when their main game plan didn’t work.
Apart from some good work from South African Jacques Potgieter – who celebrated his birthday on Thursday – and Wallaby Michael Hooper, there was little to write home about for the Australian team as they lost the Anzac Day encounter.
Blues flyhalf Simon Hickey opened the scoring early, and added two more penalties and a conversion to keep his side ahead, but it was two moments on attack – one from a Waratahs turnover – that settled the game.
The first came when winger Lolagi Visinia went up for a high ball that the Waratahs ignored, and claimed some good field position to put his side on attack, aided by some clever straightening by Ma’a Nonu before he received the ball back in open space to power his way over the line.
The second came in the second half with the Waratahs looking for a way back in as flyhalf Bernard Foley stabbed a ball through for his backline, but the ball was knocked on and Visinia grabbed it in mid-air, offloaded inside to Frank Halai, who in turn did the same for Francis Saili to score.
Potgieter barged over from close shortly afterwards to give the Waratahs some hope, but when Hickey added another penalty to push the Blues past the seven point margin, it was game over.
The Tahs tried everything, including some suicidal runs inside their own 22 and goal area, but couldn’t break through the Blues defence.
Blues - Tries: Lolagi Visinia, Francis Saili. Conversion: Simon Hickey. Penalties: Hickey (3).
Waratahs - Try: Jacques Potgieter. Conversion: Bernard Foley. Penalties: Foley (2).