3 May 2014

Blues thrash Reds in Auckland

6:37 am on 3 May 2014

The Blues have maintained their unbeaten record at Eden Park this season, spoiling Quade Cooper's 100th match for the Queensland Reds with a crushing 44-14 Super Rugby victory.

The All Blacks midfielder Ma'a Nonu put on an attacking masterclass, setting up tries for Jackson Willison, Lolagi Visinia and Bryn Hall.

Tom Donnelly crossed for the home side in the second half and while the Reds managed two consolation tries, the victory was sealed with a try to the Blues debutant Ihaia West.

Reds prop James Slipper's been cited over a dangerous tackle in the game that saw him sin-binned around half-time, and the visitors leaked 14 points while he was off.

Willison profited first from Nonu's cut-out pass to wing Visinia, then Nonu's little kick-through near the line set up the second try to Visinia.

Once Slipper returned, Nonu then offloaded after making a clean break, the All Black midfielder gifting Hall his five-pointer, unerringly converted by young first five Simon Hickey, who also kicked three penalties.

On the 50-minute mark, Donnelly dotted down for the bonus point fourth try at the end of a long-range, flowing team move.

Shortly afterwards the veteran Blues prop Tony Woodcock was sin-binned for punching and the Reds struck back straightaway, pushing over for a try to replacement forward Ben Daley.

The Reds captain James Horwill scored the Reds' second try to make it a 23-point deficit with 15 minutes remaining.

But it was the replacement Blues back West who scored next on his debut, touching down with two minutes left off a Charles Piutau intercept. West then converted for the final 44-14 scoreline.

The Blues led 20-0 at half-time.

Willison's now in doubt after leaving the field with a leg injury.

Elsewhere, competition leaders the Sharks beat the Rebels 22-16 in Melbourne, to become the first South African side to record a win on Australian territory this season.