The Blues showed what a threat they can be as they recorded a comfortable 43-10 win over a hapless Lions side in Auckland on Saturday.
The win is the Blues first home victory.
While the defeat was the South Africans third consecutive loss on the road.
The Auckland team were simply too physical and skilled during their six-try win over the Lions, who managed to reply with a solitary converted try by centre Dan Kriel and penalty by flyhalf Elton Jantjies.
The Blues started just like the pundits predicted, the hosts were the first on the board when All Blacks Rieko Ioane went over the chalk. Otere Black missed the conversion, 5-0 to the Blues after 12 minutes of play.
Minutes later, Lions build some solid phases inside the Blues’ 22, centre Manuel Rass powerful carry got them inside the danger zone, unfortunately, Marnus Schoeman’s attempt was short, eventually, Kriel scored the try from close range.
A Jantjies conversion handed the narrow 7-5 lead to the visitors.
The Lions’ lead was short-lived as the side conceded a penalty right on their own 22, Black added the easy three points for the lead.
Aside from the Lions’ ill-discipline, the side defensive system was another labiality as they struggled with the Blues’ illusive counterattack.
From a turnover, the dangerous wing Mark Telea found some space and made a good break before sending Stephen Perofeta on his way to for the team’s second try. Black’s kick was solid, 15-7.
Jantjies narrowed the deficit with another successful penalty – the side’s last points of the match.
It went from bad to worse for the Lions as they went down to 14 men when Ruan Vermaak was handed a yellow card for a deliberate offside, the referee deemed he deliberately prevented a try and awarded a penalty try to Blues, handing the hosts a 22-10 lead.
With less than three minutes into the second half, Ioane went over the chalk for his second five-pointer courtesy of well-executed a line-out and a perfect offload from No.8 Hoskins Sotutu.
Blues certainly took advantage of the extra man scoring their bonus-point try as the back and forwards combine amazingly before Gerard Cowley-Tuioti strolled over the line.
The Lions gradually tried to work their way into the match and managed to get themselves into the Blues’ half however all their efforts were halted by constant handling errors.
Instead, the Blues added more points to their tally when scrumhalf Nock made his way past defenders before Sotutu jogged over for a well-deserved try and the bonus-point victory.
Next weekend, the Blues host the Brumbies at Eden Park while the Lions travel to Dunedin to face the Highlanders.
Man of the match: For the Lions Manual Rass put in a noteworthy performance before he left the field. While inside the Blues camp there were loads of standout performers. Rieko Ioane, Thomas Faiane, Mark Telea, and Sam Nock could have easily taken the accolade. However for his impressive performance, including higher tackles, multiple offloads and a try our nod goes to Blues No.8 Hoskins Sotutu.
Tries: Ioane 2, Perofeta, Penalty try, Cowley-Tuioti, Sotutu
Cons: Black 4
Yellow card: Ruan Vermaak (Lions, 38 – deliberate foul play)
Stephen Perofeta, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Thomas Faiane
(captain), 11 Mark Telea, 10 Otere Black, 9 Sam Nock, 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7
Blake Gibson, 6 Dalton Papalii, 5 Jacob Pierce, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti,
3 Sione Mafileo, 2 James Parsons, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe.
Replacements: 16 Luteru Tolai, 17 Joe Walsh, 18 Marcel Renata, 19 Aaron Carroll/Sam Caird, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Jonathan Ruru, 22 Harry Plummer, 23 Emoni Narawa.
Lions: 15 Tyrone Green, 14 Jamba Ulengo,
13 Manuel Rass 12 Daniel Kriel, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies
(captain), 9 Andre Warner, 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Ruan Vermaak, 6 Marnus
Schoeman, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Willem Alberts, 3 Frans van Wyk, 2
Jan-Henning Campher, 1 Dylan Smith.
Replacements: 16 Pieter Jansen, 17 Sithembiso Sithole, 18 Carlu Sadie 19 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 20 Len Massyn, 21 Morné van den Berg, 22 Shaun Reynolds, 23 Andries Coetzee.
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)