Blues ease past Fijian Drua 36-5 to reach the Super Rugby Pacific semi-final

Reiko Ioane was part of the winning Blues side
Reiko Ioane was part of the winning Blues side
©Steve Haag

Blues 36-5 Fijian Drua, Eden Park

Caleb Clarke starred with a double as Blues defeated Fijian Drua 36-5 in the quarter-final of the Super Rugby Pacific at Eden Park on Saturday.

They will now take on the Brumbies in the semi-final at Eden Park on 14th June.

Blues struck the first blow in the 9th minute as Dalton Papalii scored the opening try at the back of a line out drive in the 9th minute and Harry Plummer kicked the conversion to make it 7-0.

They doubled their tally by the 18th minute when when Reiko Ioane was stopped within the 5m line but a quick offload allowed them to recycle allowing Finlay Christie to touchdown. Plummer once again kicked the extras to make it 14-0.

An offside penalty conceded by Fijian Drua allowed Plummer to kick a penalty goal extending their lead to 17-0 and at the stroke of half time Clarke dived in the corner for their third try. Plummer missed the conversion this time despite which Blues completed the opening half with a 22-0 lead.

Drua made their first response early in the second half as Selestino Ravutaumada brushed away a tackle from Plummer to dot down and Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula missed out on the extras. Armstrong-Ravula continued to have an off day as he missed another penalty chance in the 53rd minute as the gap between the two teams remained at 17 points.

The start of the final quarter saw Kurt Eklund scoring in the left side 29-5 and any chance of a Fijian Drua comeback was put off with Eklund and Thompson combining to let Clarke complete his second try to seal a comfortable victory.

Team line up:

Blues: Stephen Perofeta, Mark Tele’a, Rieko Ioane, AJ Lam, Caleb Clarke, Harry Plummer, Finlay Christie, Hoskins Sotutu, Dalton Papali’i, Akira Ioane, Josh Beehre, Patrick Tuipulotu (c), Marcel Renata, Ricky Riccitelli, Ofa Tu’ungafasi.

Reserves: Kurt Eklund, Joshua Fusitu’a, Angus Ta’avao, Cameron Suafoa, Adrian Choat, Taufa Funaki, Corey Evans, Cole Forbes.

Fijian Drua: Ilaisa Droasese, Selestino Ravutaumada, Iosefo Masi, Kemu Valetini, Waqa Nalaga, Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula, Frank Lomani, Meli Derenalagi (c), Kitione Salawa, Etonia Waqa, Leone Rotuisolia, Mesake Vocevoce, Mesake Doge, Tevita Ikanivere, Livai Natave.

Reserves: Zuriel Togiatama, Emosi Tuqiri, Samu Tawake, Isoa Nasilasila, Motikiai Murray, Elia Canakaivata, Peni Matawalu, Caleb Muntz.