SYDNEY – The Blues upset the Waratahs 24-21 on Saturday to maintain New Zealand’s dominance over Australia.
The Blues remain the bottom New Zealand side, and even though they were outscored by the top Australian team three tries to two, they cashed in on penalties to give Kiwi sides their 38th consecutive win over their trans-Tasman rivals.
The Blues win was only their third of the season, while the Waratahs have now lost three of nine.
The Waratahs wanted to play at pace, but turnovers proved costly as the Blues cashed in on the errors to lead 18-14 at halftime.
In the second half, the Waratahs tightened their game, only to be confronted by an uncompromising Blues defensive wall. “It was a massive effort from the boys. It’s massive for us,” said captain Augustine Pulu.
“We needed our big players to step up and have those big plays in those crucial moments.”
A disappointed Waratahs’ captain Michael Hooper believed his side had only themselves to blame. “We created a lot of opportunity and then blew it. We were getting into their 22 easily,” he said.
Playing on Brookvale Oval, the home ground of the Manly Warringah rugby league side, the Waratahs had powerful ball-winning weapons in the form of Michael Wells, Michael Hooper and Will Miller.
But the Blues played smarter, favouring an attack through the middle, while the Sydneysiders shaped to play wide.
For the Blues, Rieko Ioane and Tumua Manu scored tries, with Stephen Perofeta landing a conversion and four penalties.
The Waratahs tries came from Damien Fitzpatrick, Sekope Kepu and Hooper, with Bernard Foley converting all three.