Blues maintain second position after win over Highlanders

Beauden Barrett kicked seven points
Beauden Barrett kicked seven points

Highlanders 21-32 Blues, Forsyth Barr Stadium

Blues scored four first half tries as they went on to defeat Highlanders 21-32 in the eighth round of Super Rugby Aotearoa at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Sunday.

The win means Blues now have six victories from seven games as they have 22 points while Highlanders are at fourth with 10 points.

Blues will have a bye next round following which they will lock horns with 10-time champions Crusaders in the final round while Highlanders have games against Crusaders and Hurricanes.

Blues started the game on a positive note with Akira Ioane dotting down in the seventh minute but Beauden Barrett missed the conversion. However, the All Blacks star ensured he added the extras in Blues' second try that came Finlay Christie in the 10th minute.

Highlanders did not relent under pressure as Ash Dixon dived over the line at the back of a line out drive in Blues' territory and Josh Ioane kicked a conversion and a penalty on either side to make the scoreline 10-12.

Josh's second penalty around the half-hour mark put Highlanders in the lead but it was short lived as TJ Faiane scored the visitors' third try making it 13-17. Josh with this third penalty goal reduced the deficit for the hosts to one point but Ofa Tu'ungafasi's try at the stroke of half-time meant the teams went into the break with a 16-24 scoreline.

Christie with his second at the start of the second half stretched the visitors' lead to 13 points but with Highlanders struggling to score a point, Barrett with a 54th minute penalty goal made the scoreline 16-32.

Highlanders were presented an opportunity when Blues were left to play with 14-men for the final seven minutes when Mafileo was sin-binned for a foul and all the home side could manage was a try from Shannon Frizell that reduced their losing margin to 11 points.

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