Belfast Telegraph

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Blues win high-scoring contest

Melani Nanai scored a brace of tries as the Blues claimed a 41-24 win over the Western Force at Eden Park.

Steven Luatua, Akira Ioane and Ihaia West also went over with points coming from the boot of West, Dan Bowden and Lolagi Visinia.

After trailing 31-0, the Force fought back with tries from Pekahou Cowan, Matt Hodgson, Ryan Louwrens and Ben McCalman but it was not enough.

Bowden booted the Blues into an early lead but the first try did not come until midway through the first half as good hands saw Jimmy Cowan send over Nanai over in the corner. Bowden added the extras.

Dane Haylett-Petty was then sin-binned for the Force for a collision with Visinia and the Blues took advantage on the stroke of half-time, Luatua forcing his way over from the back of a scrum and Bowden adding two.

Just two minutes after the break, Nanai had his second after accepting a Brendon O'Connor offload and when Visinia converted, it was looking ugly for the Force.

It only took six minutes for things to go from bad to worse when Ioane used his blistering pace to surge over and West's conversion made it 31-0.

The Force were on the board soon after, though, as Cowan went over near the posts and Luke Burton added the two.

Hodgson went over following a maul to get the Force in double figures but Sias Ebersohn missed the conversion and West soon booted a penalty for the home side.

West then beat two defenders to score the bonus-point try for the Blues which he converted himself.

A quick tap penalty from Louwrens handed the Force their third try which was converted by Ebersohn before McCalman barged over at the death to ensure both teams got a bonus point.


From Belfast Telegraph