GARETH DUNCAN watched the Blues record their third win of the season as they beat the Western Force 32-9 in Auckland.
This season will be the Blues’ worst Super Rugby campaign in the franchise’s history. But they gave the Auckland faithful some rare joy as they scored four tries in an easy contest against the Force.
The Perth visitors trailed 13-9 at half-time, but failed to score any points in the second stanza as the Blues rallied to victory in their last home game of the season.
The hosts only crossed the chalk once during the opening 40 through flank Steven Luatua after an extensive period of frustration. Poor handling at key moments and ill-discipline cost them early on, and gave Force pivot Ben Seymour the platform to slot three penalties.
Luatua eventually crashed over near the half-hour mark, while wing Lachie Munro’s conversion and two penalties secured a four-point advantage at the break.
Fullback Charles Pitau’s try in the 54th minute opened the floodgates for the Blues in the second half. While it wasn’t a convincing performance thereafter, they did enough to grab the bonus point with scores via inside centre Ma’a Nonu and No 8 Luke Braid. It was Nonu’s 100th Super Rugby career try.
There were more opportunities to punish the Force, who were dismal on attack and defence in the final quarter, but they failed to finish them. The Blues will be happy with their win, which sees them move out of the bottom two in the overall standings.