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Blues deliver six-try Super win over Bulls

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 25/03/2017

The Blues have finally delivered an 80-minute effort, running in five second-half tries to outplay the Bulls 38-14 in their Super Rugby clash at Eden Park.

The South Africans offered little resistance in the second 40 minutes on Saturday after matching the Blues 7-7 at halftime. Only an 80th-minute try to replacement halfback Rudy Paige restored respectability to the scoreline.

The Blues had desperately needed a win after successive losses to the Chiefs, Crusaders and Highlanders, and started on the right note with a try inside three minutes.

The attack came off a solid lineout, gathered momentum with good support play and sharp handling down the left touchline and was finished in style by halfback Augustine Pulu.

Piers Francis's conversion gave the Blues a 7-0 lead, but the Bulls hit back in traditional style after a superb Handre Pollard kick found touch just five metres out from the try-line.

The South African rolling maul rumbled into action from the attacking line-out as the visitors showed patience and control before prop Lizo Gqoboka reached out an arm to touch down near the posts.

Pollard's conversion levelled the scores, but although the Blues continued to secure plenty of possession, a series of handling errors and ill-timed turnovers around the ruck meant they couldn't capitalise.

The 7-7 halftime scoreline lasted just five minutes after the restart.

Fullback Michael Collins attacked the line, offloaded to winger Matt Duffie who showed quick feet and a solid fend before racing clear to touch down and give the Blues a 14-7 lead.

Duffie extended the lead 10 minutes later, timing his run to latch onto a perfectly weighted Francis cross-field kick to dot down in the corner.

Ahead 19-7, the Blues looked well in control until flanker Jimmy Tupou's yellow card for a neck-hold tackle set them back on edge as the hour mark approached.

The Bulls couldn't find the field position to take advantage, however, and the Blues struck a telling blow while still a man down when replacement first-five eighth Ihaia West dived over for the bonus point try.

They finished with a hiss and roar and Matt Moulds and Melani Nanai both crossed as the Blues ran with increasing confidence.

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