Winger Rieko Ioane became the 18th player to score a record-equalling four tries in a Super Rugby match, taking the Blues to their first win of the season against the Sunwolves in Auckland.
The home side held on for a 28-20 victory last night, as they marked last week’s death of former prop Mike Tamoaieta with his player number 276 stitched onto the front of their jerseys.
The Sunwolves had won their first match away from home last week against the Chiefs and never let the Blues get too far ahead, but were hampered by second-half yellow cards to fullback Semisi Masirewa and replacement hooker Nathan Vella.
The Blues hadn’t scored a try this season until Ioane touched down for his first in the 20th minute. He had a double by halftime when the Blues led 15-13 and bagged two more five-pointers.
The Sunwolves were strongly competitive and scored through Uwe Helu to cut the lead to five points.
A late penalty to Otere Black sealed the Blues’ win.
First five eight Rikiya Matsuda scored a try, slotted two penalties and converted both his own and replacement lock Uwe Helu’s second half try for the Japanese outfit at North Harbour Stadium.
Waratahs down Reds
The NSW Waratahs retained interstate bragging rights with a 10th-straight Super Rugby triumph over the Queensland Reds.
It wasn’t pretty, but the Waratahs ground out a 28-17 victory over their arch rivals last night, the two sides destroying the famous SCG turf in the process.
Shovels in hand, repairmen were called on after every scrum to restore the shredded SCG surface that couldn’t cope with the two-tonne set pieces on a pitch usually reserved for cricket and AFL.
But the historic venue is also hosting rugby games and other football codes as well due to the demolition of neighbouring Allianz Stadium.
At one point late on, four groundsmen were required to repair a series of gaping holes.
Queensland coach Brad Thorn was also less than impressed.
The Reds had hoped to target the Waratahs’ scrum, but Thorn felt the capitulating surface “shut down” that prospect.
Officials and the SCG Trust have just a fortnight to try to resolve the problem before the Waratahs host the defending champion Crusaders.
Lions hold off Jaguares
The Lions beat the Jaguares 47-39 in 13-try feast, their second win in four weeks against the South Americans.
The injury-hit Lions handed several youngsters the opportunity for a start and saw new lock Rhyno Herbst and centre Wandisile Simelane score early tries as first five eight Elton Jantjies passed 1000 Super Rugby points with a try of his own.
The Lions led 26-13 at halftime at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.
Courtnall Skosana (two), Kwagga Smith and Marnus Schoeman were the other try scorers against an experimental Jaguares side, who trailed by 20 points with some 15 minutes but three late tries to deny their hosts a bonus point.
Julian Montoya (two), Matias Orlando, Matias Moroni, Joaquin Tuculet and debutant Gaspar Baldunciel scored the Jaguares’ six tries.
Bulls complete clean sweep
Winger Rosko Specman scored two tries and captain Handre Pollard added 22 points with his boot as the Bulls 37-14 victory over the Sharks completed a sweep of their South Afrian rivals.
Jesse Kriel scored the opening try and Pollard kicked the conversion and four penalties to give the Bulls a 19-0 halftime lead at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.
But the Sharks attempted a comeback after the break with tries from Jeremy Ward and Daniel du Preez, on either end of Specman’s first effort.
It meant the Sharks were within 13 points of their hosts, going into the last 10 minutes but Pollard made sure the Bulls kept ahead with a drop kick before Specman scored his second from a turn over on the final whistle.
The Bulls’ success followed victories over the Stormers and Lions and puts them top of their conference standings.