Blues overcome Hunt as they edge out Highlanders 27-24

Reiko Ioane was one of the try-scorer for Blues
Reiko Ioane was one of the try-scorer for Blues
©Steve Haag

Blues 27-24 Highlanders, Eden Park

Blues managed to resist Highlanders as they sealed a 27-24 win in the third round of Super Rugby Aotearoa clash at Eden Park on Saturday.

This is Blues' third win from as many games as they occupy the pole position in the table while Highlanders are at third place.

Caleb Clarke made an outstanding start to the game as he touched down from close range in the sixth minute and Otere Black followed with the conversion to provide the home side a seven-point lead.

Highlanders went on to level the scores in the 11th minute when Ash Dixon crossed over and Mitch Hunt kicked the extras before both the fly-halves traded penalties to make the scoreline 10-10.

Blues soon took control of the game as a clearance kick from Scott Gregory was charged by Hoskins Sotutu and eventually Dalton Papali'i took it over the line in the 23rd minute and as the 30th minute was approaching, Reiko Ioane scored his side's third try to make the scoreline 22-10 at the end of the first half.

Highlanders bounced back hard as they controlled the opening 10 minutes of the second half with Hunt spotting the gap to score a converted try that reduced the arrears to five points.

The visitors' momentum took a shot in the arm as Blues were reduced to 14-men temporarily in the 52nd minute when Reiko was yellow-carded for an infringement and Shannon Frizell touched down soon after followed by Hunt's conversion taking them to a 22-24 lead.

Gregory was once again at the wrong side of things as he failed to grab a high ball allowing Papalii to score his second and decisive try in the 58th minute to complete a three-point victory for the hosts.

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