23 Mar 2014

Blues beat Cheetahs in stuttering game

12:10 pm on 23 March 2014

The Blues have scored their second Super Rugby victory of the season in their second home game, beating bottom side the Cheetahs of South Africa 40-30 at Eden Park in Auckland.

In truth it was a stop-start game with plenty of penalties and the star for the Blues was the boot of first five Simon Hickey, the 20-year-old kicking eight from nine for 20 points.

The Blues scored four tries to three. All Blacks flanker Stephen Luatua crossed first under the posts after 16 minutes before his opposite Boom Prinsloo levelled it up again at 13-13, only to then blot his copybook by being sent off for cynically stopping the Blues on his own line shortly afterwards.

The home side capitalised with 17 points while he was off with tries to centre George Moala and wing Tevita Li to lead 30-16 at half-time.

After the break some desperate defence saw the Cheetahs held up twice over the line. World Cup winners Jerome Kaino and Ma'a Nonu's Blues return got a huge cheer, but the crowd went quiet when Cornal Hendricks scored soon after to close to within seven points with 20 minutes to go.

Veteran prop Tony Woodcock got the bonus point try five minutes later from close range but wing Hennie Daniller caused some more nervous moments with the Cheetahs' third try before Hickey made it safe with his fourth penalty and the 10-point lead.