Blues masterclass too much for wayward Reds
May 2, 2014
Lolagi Visinia of the Blues is tackled by Anthony Fainga'a of the Reds
© Getty Images
Blues midfield maestro Ma'a Nonu orchestrated a comprehensive 44-14 bonus-try Super Rugby win over Queensland on Friday at Eden Park in Auckland. The Blues, last in the New Zealand conference, scored two first-half tries to lead 20-0 at the break then extended that to 34-0 with two quick tries 10 minutes after the restart.
The Reds restored some respectability with two second-half tries, but had little chance of conjuring a win after conceding so many unanswered points, and crashed to their fourth defeat on end. All Blacks centre Nonu was at his best, swinging the ball wide, attacking the line or nudging a kick ahead, and featured in the build-up to four of the Blues' five tries.
The first came as the half-hour mark ticked over, Nonu shifting the ball wide for winger Lolagi Visinia to burst clear down the touchline before flicking an inside pass for centre Jackson Willison to score. Three minutes later, the Reds were down to 14 men after prop James Slipper was binned for a dangerous tackle on Peter Saili.
The Blues made the most of their advantage. With his team hot on attack, Nonu slipped a grubber kick in behind the Reds' defensive line, Visinia ran onto it and the Blues went into the break with a 20-0 lead. It took barely two minutes after the restart before they added a third, fullback Charles Piutau making the initial break before a quick recycle and Nonu's speedy hands gave halfback Bryn Hall the time and space to touch down.
The bonus try came at 50 minutes, a superb team effort which ended with Visinia attacking the line before popping the ball for lock Tom Donnelly to barrel over. Barely a minute later, the Blues were reduced to 14 men. Prop Tony Woodcock was binned for punching, and the Reds responded almost immediately.
Ben Daley powered across to score off the back of a rolling maul before the Blues regrouped to defend their line until hardworking Reds skipper James Horwill crashed across with 15 minutes to go. But that was all the visitors could manage, young first-five Ihaia West rounding off a comprehensive Blues win with a 50m dash to the line after a Piutau intercept.
Ma'a Nonu too good, leading the Blues to a comprehensive victory
Communication error please reload the page.
George Coetzee and Tommy Fleetwood remained in contention to secure a place in the Masters as Andy Sullivan, Alexander Levy, Marcel Siem and Ross Fisher all missed out in Morocco
Andy Murray made a solid start in his quest for a third Miami Open title as he dispatched Donald Young to reach the third round in Florida
Kevin De Bruyne would consider a move back to Chelsea despite barely featuring in his time at Stamford Bridge, sources told ESPN
Daley Blind believes moving to Manchester United and competing in the Premier League has helped him to grow as a player
Ronnie O'Sullivan has withdrawn from the China Open for undisclosed "health reasons", World Snooker has announced
Who has driven in the most GPs before taking pole position?
Mudslinging and an agreement on something that will never happen, it's all in a day's work for a Formula One boss, as Maurice Hamilton explains...
Fallout continues from the NSW-Brumbies derby, with one Tahs forward - not Potgieter - surprised by other unsavoury comments during the game, Greg Growden reports
Greg Growden previews Super Rugby round 7. We've also got key stats, team news and all the line-ups to inform your ESPN Footytips Super Rugby picks
Will Mercedes dominate again? Can anybody catch up with the help of a rainstorm? And will the Red Bull/Renault relationship tear itself apart? All those questions and more will be answered at this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix
Tiger Woods is confident of recovering from a poor run of form to qualify for the US Ryder Cup team in 2016, according to captain Davis Love III
Jonas Gutierrez has told Canal+ he will never forgive Newcastle for the way the club treated him during his battle with cancer, but wants to stay at St James' Park beyond this summer
Lionel Messi earned more than €1 million (£740,000) a week last year to make him the world's highest-paid player and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was the best-paid coach, according to a new survey
Andy Murray has expressed fears that his game will regress without full-time coaching in a candid exchange with a fellow Twitter user as he prepares to add former world No.4 Jonas Bjorkman to his coaching team
Luis Suarez has laughed off the idea that the Barcelona players have set out to help Lionel Messi beat Cristiano Ronaldo to La Liga's top scorer award
Unbeaten heavyweight Dillian Whyte, 28, (14-0, 11 KOs) tells ESPN where his rivalry with Anthony Joshua stems from and outlines the plan for his career this year after returning from a doping ban in November
Some of the best fighters to ever glove up have plied their trade in the Octagon - now ESPN list the 10 best who have fought under the UFC banner
Who was the first Briton to win the British Grand Prix?
Where does Anthony Davidson's record of 24 Grands Prix without a point rank him?
How many F1 drivers have had one win, but done it at their home Grand Prix?