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Determined Blues claim bonus point win

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Lynn McConnell     30 Mar 2019     Getty Images

Scoring two stunning set-piece tries without answer the Blues ran the Stormers so ragged they were reduced to claiming injury breaks from late in the first half in a bid to slow the game down. 

Then they secured the win, seven minutes from the end when reduced to 14 men after wing Tanielu Tele'a was sent off for a dangerous tackle. It also provided a three-try bonus point for the side.

It came when they produced their own version of a lineout maul to free the ball for left wing Rieko Ioane to score.

The Stormers tried plenty of variations but the Blues side withstood everything the South Africans threw at them. So well did they do with their discipline they completely denied the Stormers the chance to put their rolling lineout maul to use.

When the Stormers did attempt to test the Blues wide, they invariably ran into either handling problems or they threw forward passes. Their night was summed up when from an injury time penalty they attempted to set a lineout drive to score, only to knock the ball on. Second five-eighths Ma'a Nonu had a strong defensive game in a powerful tackling display by the complete unit.



The Blues also had their own frustrations, especially in trying to set up plays in the first half.

But they finally struck gold in the 30th minute from a clean lineout take by flanker Tom Robinson. Second five-eighths Ma'a Nonu played first receiver fed first five-eighths Otere Black who then had left wing Rieko Ioane charging into the line from the blindside.

Running into the gap the big wing put his foot down and then found Tele'a. He too was a full flight and strong enough to fend off both Stormers challengers second five-eighths Damian de Allende and wing Dillyn Leyds to score.

The first half produced few clear cut scoring chances for both sides, but the Blues made the most of theirs, and after scoring their try, launched two other strong assaults, again with Tele'a providing impetus on his flank before the ball was moved through the line with Ioane losing the ball in the tackle on the line.

Robinson also had one strong run to open up the Stormers' defences but the ball was lost when the Stormers defenders knocked halfback Jonathan Ruru's arm as he looked to pass the ball.

In the second half, the Stormers had a chance to score with Leyds putting a kick ahead for Josh Stander to secure the ball and cross but play was called back by the TMO for a big forward pass early in the movement.

It was a tough night for the two packs but the difference came from a piece of quick thinking by Rieko Ioane after the Stormers were forced into touch. He threw the ball to replacement second five-eighths Sonny Bill Williams and then linked with Ioane to take ball deep into the Stormers territory.

More attacking play saw Robinson go close and just failing to get an inside pass to Rieko Ioane before being forced into touch. The Stormers tried to play the ball out from their own line and dropped the ball.

It was from the resulting scrum in the 61st minute that No.8 Akira Ioane played the ball from the back to Ruru. He found Williams who cut into space and while going to ground, he flicked the ball to Black who scored.

The Blues still couldn't take comfort from their lead as they lost Tele'a in the 68th minute when he didn't contest the ball with Leyds and he touched him in the air causing him to fall dangerously.

Scorers: Blues 24 (Tanielu Tele'a, Otere Black, Rieko Ioane tries; Black 3 con, pen) Stormers 9 (Daniel du Plessis 3 pen). HT: 10-7