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Photos of Blues Triumph at Home 102 views 4 Comments
05 April 2013 by deep
 
Connected with: Wiki Player Steven Luatua, Rene Ranger, Ben Smith

The Blues maintain a sniff of carrying through to the finals with a 4 try bonus win over the Highlanders 29 - 18. Here are a bunch of pics and thoughts from the game.

A phone call late afternoon from my mate telling me that he's just been upgraded to the corporate boxes by another mate set a positive scene for the night.  As nice as the boxes are, you're well removed from the action.  So lucky him hob-snobbing it for a day and me with a break to let the journo loose.

Tonight me, my wide-eyed boy and trusty camera hit the front row seats, right behind the try line.  So close to the action that we're at the ready to give a helpful shunt to the defending side in those all critical 5m scrums.  A bevvy or two to calm the nerves and we're away.

Blues fans

Highlanders apply pressure

The game started a little cold, with 'The Swede Eater' Scotty's Highlanders hitting their straps early on at the far end of the field.  The first points came in the form of a penalty resulting from some light pressure, and then a classic Ben Smith try that was full of guile, guts and determination.

 Steven Luatua  Josh Bekhuis  Peter Saili

10 zip to the visitors and I was starting to wonder.... Are the Blues that fickle? Did we already count this one in the bag, and now time to have the over-confident smile wiped away? Are the much vaunted Highlanders actually going to hit their straps?

Thankfully it was still early on, and then a game changing event took place.  Ma'a Nonu threw an all too common shoulder out and flattened his old mate Piri Weepu.  The yellow card followed, along with the biggest cheer of the night.  This paved the way for 2 unanswered tries while the sideline seat earned a little warmth in the night.  This picture is of the first - where Luatua was resting on the wing, when the ball came his way and he scored a wingers try after scorching around big Brad Thorn (OK, he pretty much fell over the line, but I'm sure that's how he'll remember it!) That plus a couple of missed kicks by Noakes and it seemed odd to see the score at only 12 -10 to the Blues, but at least things were looking good.

Life was a bit tight for the remainder of the half, and the Highlanders grabbed another penalty to take a half time lead.

The second half was a rough affair, with the Highlanders enjoying some long periods of dominance but never able to capitalise.  

Meanwhile the Blues put on a hot try after a long period of ball in hand.  They finally found a little space out left, the ball passed through a few hands before Ranger pulled a few quick steps up the left touch and then a final pass to Weepu for an easy run to the line.  Soon after, this time on a counter attack, it was 'take two'.  Ranger made an awesome run flirting with the left touch, cleanly beating a couple of defenders on the outside before finally drawing the last defender and delivering a nice in-pass to the waiting Weepu, again up for another easy trot to the line.

Aaron Smith searching for a way to the line

Rico Gear eyeballing the line

The game finished with the Highlanders camped on the Blues line, including opting for a series of scrums each time earning another penalty and another scrum.  But it was to no avail, as the Blues defense was water tight, and they finished the night as deserved victors.  That said, they've got a long way to go if they want to be genuine title contenders.  It was great to see both Keven Mealamu and Jamie Mackintosh on the field for the first time this season.

 Rene Ranger Salutes the Crowd  Ma'a Nonu Ponders Life


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Tags: Auckland Blues, HIghlanders



comment Comments (4)
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4 . Real Deal 08 Apr 2013 04:22 PM
Good shots Deep, were you posing as a security guard? With a beer in his hand..

3 . The Swede Eaters 07 Apr 2013 01:55 AM
It is an all too familiar story for the Highlanders. They dominate territory and possession for long periods and just can't score, then they turn the ball over and the other team scores counter-attacking tries. A bit disappointing really for the Highlanders fans amongst us. Nonu is a poisoned chalice, his sinbinning turned the game.


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2 . HarleyCollett 06 Apr 2013 02:16 AM
nice work Deep; pretty decent photography skills too innit!

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1 . Inferno XV 06 Apr 2013 12:50 AM
Very nice summary!


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