Match Centre: Super Rugby Pacific: Blues 26-6 Crusaders

Stephen Perofeta kicked four penalties and two conversions
Stephen Perofeta kicked four penalties and two conversions

Blues 26-6 Crusaders, Auckland, Eden Park

Blues have moved to the fourth position in the table as they defeated Crusaders 26-6 in the latest Super Rugby Pacific round at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday.

The result also meant Crusaders now have lost all their five matches this season since Rob Penney took over as the head coach from Scott Robertson.

Stephen Perofeta got the first points of the game in the 4th minute as David Havili was pinged for a tackle on Dalton Papalii without the ball leading to a penalty goal. The home side were down to 14 players temporarily with Papali'i sent to sin-bin for an illegal entry in the breakdown.

Despite being a man down, Blues did well not to concede much points before Crusaders earned a scrum penalty in the 20th minute which Riley Hohepa converted to make it 3-3.

Around the half hour mark, Crusaders infringed at off side allowing Perofeta to kick a penalty goal which was cancelled out by a three pointer from Hohepa. Just at the stroke of half time, Blues lost Zarn Sullivan to injury before Crusaders' Willi Heinz was sin-binned for repeated infringements.

Perofeta kicked a penalty goal to give hosts a 9-6 lead at the end of the opening half before Ofa Tu'ungafasi picked up the ball and burrowed from close range early in the second half. The Blues continued to dominate as Cole Forbes beat the defenders of Crusaders before eventually allowing AJ Lam going over the line. Perofeta kicked both the conversions to make it 23-6.

Crusaders' problems compounded as Sevu Reece was yellow carded for repeated infringements near the line. The Blues forced a scrum penalty early in the final quarter allowing Perofeta to complete a penalty goal to seal a 26-6 victory.

Team line up:

Blues: Zarn Sullivan, Mark Tele’a, AJ Lam, Bryce Heem, Caleb Clarke, Stephen Perofeta, Finlay Christie, Hoskins Sotutu, Dalton Papali’i, Akira Ioane, Laghlan McWhannell, Patrick Tuipuloto (capt), Angus Ta'avao, Ricky Riccitelli, Ofa Tu'ungafasi.

Reserves: Kurt Eklund, Joshua Fusitu'a, Marcel Renata, Josh Beehre, Adrian Choat, Taufa Funaki, Harry Plummer, Cole Forbes.

Crusaders: Chay Fihaki, Sevu Reece, Levi Aumua, David Havili (capt), Macca Springer, Riley Hohepa, Willi Heinz, Cullen Grace, Tom Christie, Dominic Gardiner, Jamie Hannah, Quinten Strange, Fletcher Newell, George Bell, George Bower.

Reserves: Ioane Moananu, Joe Moody, Seb Calder, Tahlor Cahill, Corey Kellow, Noah Hotham, Ryan Crotty, Dallas McLeod.