Blues

Hurricanes defensive effort too strong for

Disappointing because the Blues had so many opportunities, especially at five-metre scrums close to the Hurricanes, only to fail to score from any of them.

There were other basic errors that contributed to negating the possession and position advantages the Blues enjoyed. The Hurricanes had to make nearly three tackles to one by the Blues while the home side also looked to move the ball more often but lacked incision and accuracy.

Chiefs burst Blues bubble with breathtaking Super Rugby win in Hamilton

 

After four wins on the bounce, the Blues were handed a 33-29 defeat at FMG Stadium Waikato, despite the hosts losing Damian McKenzie to a leg injury early in the second half.

It turned into a thrilling contest for the 14,977 in attendance, in a tit-for-tat second half where the Blues just wouldn't say die. The collisions were typically fierce and the action blood-rushing.

'No doubt' about Nonu's impact

A milestone night for Waratahs fullback Israel Foloau ended on a sour note as his team went down 32-29 to the Blues in a tense clash in Auckland on Saturday night.

The result lifted the Blues to fourth overall and within sight of second in the New Zealand conference.

With his team trailing 22-21 midway through the second half, it was a loose pass from Folau that ultimately proved decisive, allowing Nonu to charge 40m for his team's final try.

Williams to miss Blues game to provide support in Christchurch

A proud Muslim, Williams posted to social media on Sunday night saying he would be in Christchurch "later in the week to show love and give donations to the Christchurch Masjids for the people effected in this tragedy".

The Blues confirmed the 51-test midfielder would not play against the Highlanders at Eden Park.
The match would count as one of the two Super Rugby fixtures he must miss as an All Blacks player ahead of this year's World Cup.

Williams' confirmation of his trip to Christchurch followed an emotional video he posted on Friday after the terror attacks.

Crusaders beat Blues in Super Rugby opener

The nine-time champions scored four tries to three on Saturday at Eden Park, but only clung to victory when Blues reserve five-eighth Harry Plummer missed two late shots at goal.

Making his maiden Super Rugby appearance, Plummer skewed a handy conversion attempt and then a 45m penalty shot, both inside the final seven minutes of a fiercely fought Kiwi derby.

It was a gut-wrenching result for new Blues head coach Leon MacDonald, whose team look highly competitive and capable of breaking a seven-season run of failing to reach the finals.

Four-try haul for Laumape in Hurricanes win

Powerhouse inside centre Laumape proved too hot to handle in a 42-24 win in Wellington on Saturday which leaves his team close to clinching a home quarter-final berth in the play-offs.

The result ends a three-match losing streak for the Hurricanes, who scored six tries to three, all converted by fullback Jordie Barrett.

Laumape became the seventh player in the competition's history to bag four tries in a match, using his trademark straight running close to the line to simply bowl defenders out of the way.

Blues smash Reds in Super Rugby card-fest

Two contentious first half yellow cards two minutes apart cruelled any chance the Reds had of breaking their six-year drought at Auckland's Eden Park.

While they were reduced to 13 men, the Blues ran in two tries to open up a 21-6 halftime lead and were never headed despite seeing two yellow cards of their own in the second half.

Duncan Paia'aua and Alex Mafi crossed to add some respectability for Queensland but it was too little, too late.

Former All Black Jerome Kaino farewells Eden Park

A veteran of 81 tests for the All Blacks, Kaino will play his final match at Eden Park when the Auckland-based Super Rugby side host the Reds on Friday night.

The 35-year-old flanker, player of the tournament during the All Blacks' run to the 2011 World Cup crown, will also notch his 137th Blues appearance.

Assuming he gets on the field in one of the team's final two games of the season, both away from home, Kaino will surpass Tony Woodcock as their second-most capped player behind only Keven Mealamu (164).

Blues on high alert as Cook rates Ponga best player in game

Cook rated Ponga the best player in the NRL Telstra Premiership this season and the man that could single-handedly ruin plans of the Blues securing just their second series victory in 13 years.

With a mission of his own to terrorise rucks late in both halves, the 26-year-old expects to see more of Queensland's utility off the bench than he did of Anthony Milford in game one.

Ponga leads the NRL in tackle breaks (116), line break assists (13) and kick return metres with 871 in total.

Sam Whitelock to miss Blues game

Vice-captain Crotty will link with Jack Goodhue in the midfield.

The Crusaders have made six changes and one positional switch from the side that beat the Waratahs last week.

In the front row, Tim Perry makes his return from a hamstring injury and will start at loosehead prop. All Black Owen Franks also returns to the starting side this week, and Mike Alaalatoa moves to the reserves.