Munro stars in Blues victory
Blues winger Lachie Munro scored a try and kicked three penalties and a conversion as the New Zealand side secured a place in the Super 15 semi-finals with a 26-13 victory over the Waratahs
Munro, who spent much of the Super Rugby season wondering if his chance would ever come, showed the wait was worthwhile as he provided the hosts with the impetus to secure the victory.
Not only did the 24-year-old deliver 16 points, he was also key to the 62nd-minute try which effectively killed the injury-ravaged Waratahs' challenge. The Blues launched a counter attack after a period of kicking and following a mis-judgment between Blues backs, it was centre Benson Stanley who tidied.
Munro ran onto his pass and his quick hands provided time on the wing where lock Ali Williams was waiting. He cut back in perfectly and was able to dive over for the try, which Munro converted from wide out.
Williams was also impressive, charging with the ball in hand, putting in deft kicks and dominating the lineouts in partnership with locking partner Anthony Boric, who was not far behind in overall contribution around the field.
The Blues started poorly and it was the visitors who scored first as Ryan Cross created enough room for Tom Carter to go over. That merely galvanised the home side into action, firstly from a deftly-placed chip ahead from Luke McAlister which fell neatly into wing Joe Rokocoko's arms.
He raced downfield and passed inside to centre Jared Payne. He raced into the Waratahs' 22m area and when the ball moved back across field, Stephen Brett, Payne and McAlister combined to put in Munro to touch down.
He was hit hard by Phil Waugh, in his final match, after scoring and it was left to McAlister to convert and put the Blues 7-5 ahead. Kurtley Beale restored the Australians' advantage with a penalty before two three-point efforts from Munro enabled the Blues to lead 13-8 at half-time.
Munro made it 16-8 before Williams' try handed the Blues an advantage they would never relinquish. Following the conversion, Waugh departed for the final time to a rousing ovation.
Lachie Turner crossed for a consolation try after good work from Beale but McAlister slotted a penalty from 52 metres with three minutes to go to seal it. The Blues' victory means if the Crusaders beat the Sharks in Nelson on Saturday night they will meet the first-placed Reds in Brisbane for a place in the final.