The Blues took their home game against the Reds to Apia in Samoa. In my opinion inspirational idea even if ticket prices kept many fans away. The Blues were hot favourites for this game and deservedly so as no Aussie side has beaten a Kiwi team since march 1892. Or so it seems.
The Reds started slowly with knock ons, thighthead scrum loses and loose kicks handing the Blues a mountain of procession. Seven minutes in the Blues were up 12-0 with good tries to Rene Ranger and Reiko Ioane and deservedly so. The Reds, despite flubbing a certain try by Andrew Ready manage to pull five points back a few phases later through Taniella Tupau. Kara Pryor add another try for the Blues but Andrew Ready and the Reds got the next lineout drive right and scored a try to even Pryors try out. Still the Blues lead the Reds 20-12 at half time with the Reds lucky to be in touch with two blues tries disallowed through forward passes.
The Reds started the second half how they could have started the first. They were more focused and stuck to their game plan while limiting their errors. The Reds snuck in front through a penalty and a try to Adam Korczyk before the Blues scored the try of the match Running a thousand metres and through a hundred hands before Cowley-Tuioti dotted down beside the posts. Unfortunately for the Blues, the Reds grabbed the ball back after the kick off and Tupau scored his second try snuffing out the Blues hard fought momentum. The Reds lead 29-27 with fifteen minutes left to play.
The Blues were the team who reacted better to the tight situation. They scored their final try in the 74th minute which pushed them out to a 34-29 lead. The Blues had a small lead and defended it willingly while the Reds just couldn’t get themselves into a scoring position.
All in all a entertaining game in trying conditions. The players on both sides looked spent in the Apia heat and humidity. As always I was hoping for a Reds win but can’t begrudge a tight win to the Blues. The Reds tries were all scored through the forwards proving how much they missed Kerevi’s grunt in the mid field.
The Game Changer
In the ninth minute the Reds lost their captain and main strike weapon Samu Kerevi to what looks like a high ankle strain. Although they fought hard in the match his loss was too great a hurdle to overcome.
The G&GR MOTM
The are a wealth of players who played well with out a single stand out. Duncan Paia’aua is quickly becoming one of my favourites. George Smith and Higginbotham were huge and James Tuttle played well. But I’m heading to the Blues for the MOTM and awarding it to Rene Ranger who ran hard scored a try and put his body on the line.
Samu Kerevi and Lukhan Tui both named in the Wallaby squad and both injured. Karmichael Hunt did his chances of a test match cap no harm. Neither did Scott Higginbotham. Quade Cooper continued his slow, ever so slow return to form and even managed a few tackles. Taniela Tupou had a solid game. I’m going to chuck Duncan Paia’aua in too. sure he missed the squad but I think he added another tick next to his name tonight.
Score & Scorers
Tries: R. Ranger (3), R. Ioane (7), K. Pryor (29), G. Cowley-Tuioti (62), S. Perofeta (74)
Conversions: P. Francis (5), S. Perofeta (63), S. Perofeta (76)
Penalties: P. Francis (40)
Tries: T. Tupou (15), A. Ready (33), A. Korczyk (52), T. Tupou (64)
Conversions: Q. Cooper (34), Q. Cooper (53), Q. Cooper (65)
Penalties: Q. Cooper (46)
Cards & citings