Flyhalf Otere Black scored 19 points behind a Blues pack that manhandled the Highlanders for a 39-17 victory in Super Rugby Aotearoa at Eden Park on Sunday.
Gameflow: After conceding an early penalty goal, the Blues clicked into gear to score 29 unanswered points during a 40-minute blitz. The Highlanders bench pushed back, dotting down twice in the final 30, though the score understated the home team’s dominance as the Blues had two tries disallowed.
Poetic Justice: In the build-up to the game, the Highlanders branded the Blues heavies a ‘South African pack’ and the contest made it clear that what was meant to be an insult was instead a compliment. With six All Black forwards in the vanguard, the Blues pack dominated the collisions and controlled the breakdown, setting the stage for the likes of Black and Caleb Clarke to score.
In Control: Operating in the slipstream of a dominant pack, Black scored the Blues’ first try and added four conversions and two penalties with the boot.
Lean and mean: All Blacks and Blues finisher Rieko Ioane appears to be finding form as he threatened to open the floodgates on the Highlanders with 82 running metres on seven carries.
Blues – Tries: Otere Black, Caleb Clarke, Emoni Narawa, Kurt Eklund, Akira Ioane. Cons: Black (4). Pens: Black (2)
Highlanders – Tries: Ash Dixon, Folau Fakatava. Cons: Josh Ioane (2). Penalty: Ioane.
Super Rugby Aotearoa | Blues v Highlanders – Rd 3 Highlights
The @BluesRugbyTeam and @Highlanders battled in Auckland on Sunday for the Gordon Hunter Memorial Trophy, and for second spot in Super Rugby Aotearoa. #SuperRugby #SkySuperRugbyAotearoa #BLUvHIG pic.twitter.com/jso4QiwkIx
— Super Rugby (@SuperRugby) March 14, 2021