The Blues had the perfect start to their 2017 Super Rugby season when they beat the Rebels on Thursday 56-18 at AAMI Park.
It was they flying Rieko Ioana who scored a hat-trick of tries that help them demolish the Rebels defense. The Rebels start the match on the back-foot with the late withdrawn from Inham which force them to play English to inside centre and Placid to come in on the wing.
The Blues showed great composer early on keeping the ball in hand and went ahead 3-0 with a long range kick from West. It was however the Rebels who scored the first try of Super Rugby 2017 when Stirzaker went over and with the conversion they took the lead 7-3.
The Blues hit back with Manu getting over on a loose ball which made the score 8-7 but a mistake from West close to his line gave the lead of 12-8 to the Rebels when his kick was charged down. From this moment the Blues dominated the match and first got Duffie over for a converted try. Then it was the Ioana show with his first try coming from a stray pass to give Ioana.
Other than Ioane three tries, the visitors’ try scorers were Pauliasi Manu, Matt Duffie, Augustine Pulu and Melani Nanai. Ihaia West kicked 16 points.
It was a much higher scoreline at the end that many would have believed it to be but certainly one that they will be happy with to start the season.
Tries: Nic Stirzaker, Jackson Garden-Bachop
Penalties: Reece Hodge (2)
Tries: Pauliasi Manu, Matt Duffie, Rieko Ioane (3), Augustine Pulu, Melani Nanai
Conversions: Ihaia West (6)
Penalties: West (2), Piers Francis