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Reds no match for 'Canes, Blues raise the bar

SUPER RUGBY SATURDAY WRAP: The Blues signalled their intent in this years’ Super Rugby Pacific season, scoring eight tries to two against the Highlanders, while an experienced Hurricanes outfit disposed of the Reds and the Western Force also claimed victory.


The Blues outsmarted the Highlanders by 60-20 – 60 points their highest against the men from Dunedin – and it must be a scary prospect for their rivals.

Five second-half tries ensured an experienced Hurricanes outfit disposed of the Queensland Reds to begin their Super Rugby Pacific season with a comfortable 47-13 victory in Townsville.

Jason Holland’s side boasted six All Blacks in their 23-man squad and their experience came to the fore to secure their eighth straight triumph over the Reds.

Holding a three-point margin at halftime, the visitors’ experience was on display as they punished Queensland’s forwards twice during a 10 minute span to push the result beyond doubt.

Three more late tries blew the result out in exceptionally humid conditions on Saturday.

A penalty try just after the break was awarded following a deliberate drag down of the Hurricanes maul, with Asafo Aumua the beneficiary and Seru Eru binned as a result.


The Reds had their chances in the second half after a solid opening 40 minutes, but Ardie Savea’s pilfer thwarted their best attempt 15 minutes from time, after early having a try overturned on review for a forward pass.

Jamie Booth, Julian Savea and Tyrel Lomax then all crossed in the final 12 minutes to secure a comprehensive bonus-point victory.

The highly rated Auckland-based Blues have produced a Super Rugby Pacific statement performance to start their 2023 campaign with a record 60-20 win at the home of the Dunedin-based Highlanders.

The powerful running of winger Mark Telea was a high point in a fast-paced match at Forsyth Barr Stadium.


But discipline might be an issue for this side as they played the last 10 minutes of the first half and the first 10 minutes of the second half with 14 men after yellow cards and conceded too many penalties, especially near their line.

The Blues started strongly with tries to Telea, Beauden Barrett, Caleb Clark and Rieko Ioane to lead 31-6 after 28 minutes.

The Highlanders had a small resurgence before halftime and cut the lead to 31-20 at the break.
The Fijian Drua have had the last say in a match which provided 11 tries to edge Moana Pasifika 36-34 on the opening weekend of the Super Rugby Pacific season.

The Drua trailed 19-5 in the first half and did not lead until the 77th minute, when replacement winger Taniela Rakuro scored the try that gave them a thrilling win.
Both teams were physical but also willing to play at pace and run the ball at every opportunity.

Moana Pasifika gained a slim advantage in the forward contest but the match was eventually decided by hard-running outside backs who traded tries in the second half.

It was a tale of two halves as the Western Force manufactured an inspiring comeback to overcome an 11-point deficit to secure a 34-27 victory over the Melbourne Rebels.

Jeremey Thrush and Tom Horton won hearts and minds of Force fans as they injected themselves into second half to win the round one encounter by seven points.

An intercept from Rebel Carter Gordan saw the Rebels take an early lead.

Veteran fly-half Bryce Hegarty opened the scoring not long after through well-placed penalty kick from distance that helped his side get back into the game.

The Force looked dynamic just before halftime, with Sam Spink opening the Rebels defence up with some crafty passing resulting in a penalty that saw Bryce Hegarty give the Force a 13-24 score line heading into the sheds.

Tom Robertson and Felix Kalapu were clear standouts during the first half with their high motor and ability to regain possession at the breakdown.

The Force showed a lot more composure coming into the second half forcing mistakes out of the Rebels which set themselves up well on attack.

With their tails up the Force lifted the tempo and started to control the game, gaining territory with ease through some silky play that backed the Rebels into their own half.

Playing to their strengths, the Force saw their first lead of the encounter during 63rd minute with Hamish Stewart diving over off the back of a rolling maul setting the score at 27-24.

With ten minutes remaining, Jeremey Thrush brought the Sea of Blue to their feet as he dived through the ruck for a try that to put his side back into the lead with only minutes remaining.

Composure was needed from Cron’s side to close out the victory as Tim Anstee and Ollie Callan secured possession to secure a show-stopping victory for the Force to finish round one of Super Rugby Pacific.

Saturday’s scores and scorers:

Moana Pasifika 34-36 Fijian Drua

The scorers

For Moana Pasifika
Tries: Pole 2, Apoua, Curry, Toala
Cons: Leali’ifano 3

For Fijian Drua
Tries: Ikanivere 2, Masi 2, JTamani, Rakuro
Cons: Tela 2, Muntz


Moana Pasifika: 15 William Havil, 14 Timoci Tavatavanawai , 13 Levi Aumua, 12 Danny Toala, 11 Neria Fomai, 10 Christian Leali’ifano, 9 Ere Enari, 8 Jonah Mau’u, 7 Solomone Funaki, 6 Michael Curry, 5 Mahroni Ngakuru, 4 Samuel Slade , 3 Chris Apoua, 2 Samiuela Moli, 1 Abraham Pole.
Replacements: 16 Luteru Tolai, 17 Tau Koloamatangi, 18 Suetena Asomua, 19 Mike McKee, 20 Alamanda Motuga, 21 Manu Paea, 22 Henry Taefu, 23 Fine Inisi

Fijian Drua: 15 Ilaisa Droasese, 14 Selestino Ravutaumada, 13 Iosefo Masi, 12 Kalaveti Ravouvou, 11 Tuidraki Samusamuvodre, 10 Teti Tela, 9 Frank Lomani, 8 Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, 7 Kitione Salawa, 6 Joseva Tamani, 5 Ratu Rotuisolia, 4 Isoa Nasilasila, 3 Jone Koroiduadua, 2 Tevita Ikanivere, 1 Emosi Tuqiri.
Replacements: 16 Zuriel Togiatama, 17 Jone Tiko, 18 Samuela Tawake, 19 Sorovakatini Tuifagalele, 20 Elia Canakaivata, 21 Peni Matawalu, 22 Caleb Muntz, 23 Taniela Rakuro

Referee: James Doleman
Assistant Referees: Jono Bredin, Fraser Hannon
TMO: Christ Hart

Highlanders 20-60 Blues

The scorers

For Highlanders:
Tries: Hunt, Timu
Cons: Gilbert 2
Pens: Gilbert 2

For Blues:
Tries: Papali’i, Clarke, Ioane 2, Telea 2, Renata, Barrett
Cons: Barrett 7,
Pens: Barrett 2


Highlanders: 15 Sam Gilbert, 14 Jonah Lowe, 13 Josh Timu, 12 Thomas Umaga-Jensen, 11. Jona Nareki, 10 Mitch Hunt, 9 Folau Fakatava, 8 Marino Mikaele Tu’u , 7 Billy Harmon (captain), 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Josh Dickson, 4 Paripari Parkinson, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Rhys Marshall, 1 Ethan de Groot.
Replacements: 1. Andrew Makalio, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Saula Mau, 19 Will Tucker, 20 Sean Withy, 21 Kemara – Hauiti Parapara, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Connor Garden-Bachop.

Blues: 15 Stephen Perofeta, 14 Mark Telea, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Finlay Christie, 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Cameron Suafoa, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Kurt Eklund, 1 Ofa Tuungafasi
Replacements: 16 Ricky Riccitelli 17 Joshua Fusitu’a 18 Marcel Renata 19 James Tucker 20 Adrian Choat 21 Taufa Funaki 22 Bryce Heem 23 AJ Lam

Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant Referees: Dan Waenga, Michael Winter

Force 34-27 Rebels

The scorers

For Force:

Tries: Robertson, Horton, Stewart, Thrush
Cons: Hegarty 4
Pens: Hegarty 2

For Rebels:

Tries: Gordan, Louwrens, Wilkin
Cons: Hodge 3
Pens: Hodge 2


Force: 15 Chase Tiatia, 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Sam Spink , 12 Hamish Stewart, 11 Zach Kibirige, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Ian Prior, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Ollie Callan , 6 Tim Anstee, 5 Jeremy Williams, 4 Felix Kalapu, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Feleti Kaitu’u, 1 Tom Robertson.
Replacements: 16 Dave Horton, 17 Angus Wagner, 18 Siosifa Amone, 19 Jeremy Thrush, 20 Jackson Pugh, 21 Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, 22 Bayley Kuenzle, 23 George Poolman

Rebels: 15 Nick Jooste, 14 Lachie Anderson, 13 Reece Hodge, 12 Stacey Ili, 11 Monty Ioane, 10 Carter Gordon, 9 Ryan Louwrens, 8 Richard Hardwick, 7 Brad Wilkin, 6 Josh Kemeny, Josh Kemeny, 5 Tuaina Taii Tualima, 4 Josh Canham, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Alex Mafi, 1 Matt Gibbon .
Replacements: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Isaac Aedo Kailea, 18 Pone Fa’amausili, 19 Trevor Hosea, 20 Tamati Ioane, 21 Vaiolini Ekuasi, 22 James Tuttle, 23 Lukas Ripley

Referee: Damon Murhpy

Reds 13-47 Hurricanes

The scorers:

For Hurricanes:
Tries: Proctor, Penalty try, Roigard, Booth, Savea, Lomax
Cons: Barrett 3
Pens: Barrett 3

For Reds:
Tries: Petaia
Cons: Lynagh 2

Rebels: 15 Nick Jooste, 14 Lachie Anderson, 13 Reece Hodge, 12 Stacey Ili, 11 Monty Ioane, 10 Carter Gordon, 9 Ryan Louwrens, 8 Richard Hardwick, 7 Brad Wilkin, 6 Josh Kemeny, Josh Kemeny, 5 Tuaina Taii Tualima, 4 Josh Canham, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Alex Mafi, 1 Matt Gibbon .
Replacements: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Isaac Aedo Kailea, 18 Pone Fa’amausili, 19 Trevor Hosea, 20 Tamati Ioane, 21 Vaiolini Ekuasi, 22 James Tuttle, 23 Lukas Ripley

Reds: 15 Jordan Petaia, 14 Josh Flook, 13 Hunter Paisami, 12 Isaac Henry, 11 Filipo Daugunu, 10 Tom Lynagh, 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Harry Wilson , 7 Fraser McReight, 6 Seru Uru, 5 Lopeti Faifua, 4 Ryan Smith , 3 Zane Nonggorr, 2 Matt Faessler, 1 Dane Zander.
Replacements: 16 Richie Asiata, 17 Sef Fa’agase, 18 Peni Ravai, 19 Jake Upfield, 20 Connor Anderson, 21 Kalani Thomas, 22 Lawson Creighton, 23 Taj Annan

Referee: Angus Gardner


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