5 Mar 2011

Blues win high scoring thriller in South Africa

2:08 pm on 5 March 2011

The Blues replacement winger Rene Ranger scored two tries and first five Luke McAlister kicked 14 points as the New Zealand side rallied to beat the Lions 41-32 in their Super rugby clash in Johannesburg on Saturday morning.

The visitors, who lost to the Sharks last week in Durban, trailed 25-17 at the break but Ranger's appearance sparked a 17-point scoring streak that put the game out of the reach of the Lions, who have now lost 16 straight matches in two seasons.

The Blues' All Black winger Joe Rokocoko opened the scoring when he dived over in the right-hand corner but the Lions responded with their own corner-flag effort when number eight Warren Whiteley released halfback Jano Vermaak to score.

Rokocoko created the visitors' second try when he chipped and gathered his own kick to put centre Jared Payne away in the 13th minute to make it 14-7.

First five Elton Jantjies put the Lions ahead for the first time on the half-hour with a penalty before combining well with winger Michael Killian and flanker Derick Minnie before centre Doppies la Grange danced his way over the line.

However, the tide turned in the 51st minute when Payne broke down the left-hand touchline before putting Ranger in for a try with his first touch of the ball.

Ranger found himself on the scoresheet again just four minutes later after McAlister broke through in midfield before linking up with Payne.

The number 10 nailed the touchline conversion to open up a six-point lead but the Lions finally registered their only points of the second period when flanker Josh Strauss barged over with 14 minutes left to register a bonus point.

Their resurgence was short-lived as halfback Alby Mathewson scored the Blues' fifth try after 70 minutes to seal the win.