Rebels 18-56 Blues, AAMI Park
Centre Reiko Ioane scored a hat-trick as Blues ran a seven-try riot to defeat Reds by 18-56 in the Super Rugby opener at AAMI Park on Thursday.
Prop Pauliasi Manu (16'), wing Matt Duffie (26') and Ioane (38') were the try scorers in the first half while fly-half Ihaia West contributed with two each of conversions and penalties to take them to 25 points.
In response, Nic Stirzaker (6') and fly-half Jackson Garden-Bachop (21') were the try-scorers in the first 40 minutes for Rebels and they trailed by 10 points by half-time.
Even though, centre Reece Hodge reduced the gap to seven points with a penalty in the second half, Blues continued the onslaught with four more tries with Ioane scoring two of it and Augustine Pulu and Melani Nanai Vai being the other scorers to seal a 38-point victory for the visitors.
The bonus point victory takes Blues to the top of the New Zealand group while Rebels will be hoping for a turnaround when they lock horns with Hurricanes in the next round on 4th March at Westpac Stadium.