You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Blues stick to their style in Lions win

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 7/06/2017 Angelo Risso

Not chaos rugby - Blues rugby.

Blues skipper James Parsons has lauded his side for sticking to their traditional running-rugby style in Wednesday's shock 22-16 win over the British and Irish Lions.

It was a classic piece of Blues quick-ball that led to the Super Rugby outfit's winner over an unadventurous Lions at Eden Park, as successive offloads from No.8 Steven Luatua and midfielder Sonny Bill Williams found their way to Ihaia West to zip over.

Earlier this week, Lions assistant coach Rob Howley labelled the Kiwi rugby style "rugby chaos" for its improvisation, lack of structure and skill at pace.

It wasn't too far off the mark, as the Blues made 14 offloads to the Lions' four, six line breaks to four and 150 more metres with ball in hand.

"Blues rugby won us that game, it was something special," Parsons said.

"Obviously (they're) international quality players, they're going to bring that intensity - that's what we were expecting and I think we adjusted well."

For coach Tana Umaga, the victory serves as the high point of his 18 months in charge, after producing two successive wooden spoons in the Kiwi conference.

The Blues have not played finals football since 2011 yet mostly appeared the more exciting side on Wednesday, putting the Lions' Test series hopes in grave doubt.

Umaga admitted the natural Kiwi inclination towards free-flowing play - at its zenith with the All Blacks - was a point of difference between the Lions and the hosts.

Luatua and Williams were both outstanding for the Blues, strengthening their Test credentials, while halfback Augustine Pulu fired bullet pass after bullet pass.

Young gun Rieko Ioane was also deadly on the left wing, pinching a try and having two others disallowed for an offside and forward pass respectively.

Even playmaking debutant Stephen Perofeta, who showed plenty of nerves in his first run in the No.10 jumper, did enough to earn Umaga's praise.

"It's something that's really prevalent around our country and our teams, trying to keep the ball alive and keep that second-phase play going, get in behind teams - if you can't stop that, it's very difficult when you're going backwards all the time," Umaga said.

"For 80 minutes, if we keep backing ourselves - and that's one of the things we've developed, to keep confidence - we'll get the rewards from it."

The Blues will now enjoy the Test break, before returning to close out the Super Rugby campaign with their dead-rubber fixture against the Sunwolves in Tokyo.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon