The Blues can rest easy tonight after scoring two wins from their two matches in Australia, following victories over the Brumbies in Canberra last week and the Waratahs in Sydney tonight.
Even more impressive, tonight’s 33-40 victory over the Waratahs marks the first time since 2003 that the Blues have tasted victory in Sydney – though it wasn’t easy, and the team will rue some defensive lapses in the second half that let the home side back into the match.
The first points came after four minutes. The Waratahs were penalised for being offside, and Piers Francis tapped it over from in front. Not long later, he kicked another penalty. And then another ten minutes after that, making the Waratahs pay for their indiscretions.
Then Rieko Ioane lit up Allianz Stadium, sprinting half the length of the field to score the first try of the match. He caught a good offload from Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, slipped a defender, and then streaked clear.
Impressive young lock Scott Scrafton added another try just before halftime, giving the Blues all the momentum, as well as 26 unanswered points at the break.
But whatever Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson told his team at halftime must have worked, because they answered straight back in the second half with a try to fullback Israel Folau. That seemed to spark the home team into life, and they went on the attack, dominating territory and possession for long stretches of time.
Three times the Waratahs had penalties right out in front, and three times they opted to kick for the corner, before hooker Tolu Latu finally added another try. First five-eighth Bernard Foley added the extras, and suddenly the Sydney side were right back in it with 20 minutes still to play.
Rieko stopped the rot, scoring his second try of the night in sensational fashion, showing off all his blistering speed. Not to be outshone, his older brother Akira Ioane added another try just a few minutes later.
Consolation tries to Paddy Ryan, Foley, and Folau – his second of the evening – inside the last ten minutes gave the home fans something to cheer about, but the damage was already done.
Now our team faces a short turnaround to get back home to New Zealand and start preparing for the round-12 match against the Cheetahs at Eden Park on Friday night. Get your tickets here.
Waratahs 33 (Tries – Folau 2, Latu, Foley, Ryan; Conversions – Foley 4)
Blues 40 (Tries – R.Ioane 2, Scrafton, A.Ioane; Conversions – Francis 4; Penalties – Francis 4)