Match Centre: Blues 46-16 Moana Pasifika

Blues have five wins from six games
Blues have five wins from six games

Blues 46-16 Moana Pasifika, Eden Park

Kurt Eklund scored a hat-trick as Blues eased past Moana Pasifika with a 46-16 margin in the latest round of the Super Rugby Pacific at Eden Park on Saturday.

This is fifth consecutive win for Blues in six games as they move to the third position in the table with 22 points while Moana Pasifika are languishing at the 11th place after losing four out of the five matches.

The Blues were again without Roger Tuivasa-Sheck due to a foot injury while Pasifika lost coach Aaron Mauger and Filo Tiatia to COVID-19 protocols before the game.

Christian Lealiifano got the visitors off to a promising start as he kicked a penalty goal in the fourth minute after Blues strayed offside and followed it with another three-pointer in the 9th minute to make it 0-6.

The response from Blues came in the 11th minute with this time they won a penalty at a breakdown and Stephen Perofeta got the penalty goal right to reduce the arrears to three points.

The Blues went into the lead as Renata and Hodgman combined to launch an attack on the visitors at the end of which Sam Darry offloaded for Corey Evans to score on his first start in the 17th minute and four minutes later Caleb Clarke powered his way over to make it 17-6.

Even though Pasifika made a comeback as Timoci Tavatavanawai with a touchdown in the 30th minute after Veikoso Poloniati did the ground work, Blues were the dominant team heading into the break with further tries from Eklund (34') and Bryce Heem (40') as they completed the opening half with a 29-16 lead.

Eklund got Blues off the block in the second half with his second try that came that came at the end of a powerful drive in the 46th minute and went on to complete a hat-trick in the 60th minute despite them losing Clarke to red card in the 52nd minute following a collision on Alosio.

The seventh and final try came in the closing stage with AJ Lam dotting down as Blues went on to complete a 30 point victory.

Team line up:

Blues: 15 Zarn Sullivan, 14 AJ Lam, 13 Bryce Heem 12 Corey Evans, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Stephen Perofeta, 9 Finlay Christie, 8 Anton Segner 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Cameron Suafoa, 5 Sam Darry 4 James Tucker, 3 Marcel Renata, 2 Kurt Eklund, 1 Alex Hodgman.

Reserves: 16 Soane Vikena, 17 Karl Tu’inukuafe 18 Ofa Tuungafasi, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Adrian Choat, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Tanielu Tele’a, 23 Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens

Moana Pasifika: 15 William Havili 14 Timoci Tavatavanawai 13 Nigel Ah Wong 12 Solomone Kata 11 Tomasi Alosio 10 Christian Leali'ifano 9 Ere Enari 8 Henry Time-Stowers 7 Solomone Funaki 6 Sione Tu’ipulotu 5 Alex McRobbie 4 Veikoso Poloniati 3 Sekope Kepu © 2 Samiuela Moli 1 Ezekiel Lindenmuth

Reserves: 16 Luteru Tolai, 17 Abraham Pole, 18 Chris Apoua, 19 Mahroni Ngakuru, 20 Almanda Motuga, 21 Dwayne Polataivao, 22 Lincoln McClutchie, 23 Fine Inisi