Sharks beat Blues 29-23 in Super Rugby

By AP,

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    The Sharks scored two tries in each half to beat the Blues 29-23 in the Super Rugby game in Auckland on Friday night, claiming a bonus point and pitching the Blues’ season deeper into crisis.

    Two tries from intercepts in the first half helped the Durban-based Sharks to a 15-0 lead over an Auckland team plagued by simple handling errors.

    The Sharks then scored two tries in four minutes in the second half, after the Blues had rallied to lead 20-15, to regain their advantage and to close out their fourth win in eight games.

    Auckland slumped to its sixth loss from seven games to remain at the bottom of the table at the end of a week of conflict and controversy.

    In the worst week of the Blues’ worst season, captain Keven Mealamu broke rugby’s code of silence and publicly criticised All Blacks teammate Piri Weepu for his lack of fitness, tacitly laying the blame for Auckland’s poor form with Weepu.

    And in a tearful news conference, under-fire coach Pat Lam claimed to have been the target of racial abuse on talkback shows and social media from fans disgruntled with his team’s performance.

    The Blues made a poor start Friday, conceding an intercept try after only three minutes, then another after 17 minutes to trail 15-0 before the end of the first 20 minutes.

    “Two intercept tries, that’s 14 gift points,” Mealamu said. “Against a side like the Sharks that’s just too many points to give away.”

    The Blues came back with a try to All Blacks prop Tony Woodcock to trail by only two points, 15-13, at halftime. They then scored an intercept try of their own through center Benson Stanley to lead 20-15 only three minutes into the second half.

    But rather than consolidating that comeback, they lapsed again into the unforced errors that have made a misery of their season. The Sharks scored tries in the 45th minute through captain Keegan Daniel and in the 49th through dangerous center Tim Whitehead to first regain the lead, then build a 29-20 advantage.

    Though they had ample possession, the Blues were shut down by their own continued mistakes and by the smothering Sharks defence and made their only inroads into the Sharks’ lead with a late penalty.

    The loss was their eighth in succession in matches against the Sharks.

    The Blues next travel to Dunedin for a tough ninth-round match against the Otago Highlanders while the Sharks return home after winning two and losing two of their matches on a four-match swing through Australia and New Zealand.

    “We’re very happy with the way things ended. We mixed our form on tour but to come to the home of rugby and come away with five points, we’re chuffed with that,” Daniel said.

    “We had to defend for most of the first half and that’s probably been one of our downfalls over the last few weeks. I’m proud of the way the boys defended and we got four tries to take a bonus point so I’m happy with that.”

    © AP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (13)

    • April 14th 2012 @ 8:09am
      Lippy said | April 14th 2012 @ 8:09am | ! Report

      There’s so much going wrong with the Blues one could write a novel.
      But lets start with last night from the time this team ran out they had their heads down and they certainly did not look like a team confident in their game or their team.

      Their decision making throughout the game was poor and both Sharks first half intercept tries from passes that never should have been thrown yet taken to ground. Poor handling has become the norm as has it seems playing for themselves as individuals not as a combined unit more commonly referred to as a TEAM.
      Pat Lams half time speech was meek and looked like he didn’t want to be there I was half expecting him to burst out in tears as surely he was thinking can it get any worse?
      Abhorrent racist remarks aside this outfit is in dire trouble, trouble that I doubt the maestro GH himself can’t dig them out of.
      Pat Lams position at the Blues is untenable yet the NZRU will not pull him as it means Tew and Co losing face. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a NZ team with such obvious disharmony within the playing group and such ineptitude from.the coaching box right through the management team.
      Pat is clearly a man under a lot of stress and a great servant of NZ and pacific rugby but do we really need to seem him broken down on such a public scale, pride can at times be your worst enemy lack of leads to little confidence ala the PLAYERS not all but a large portion if the team must take responsibility for their lack of confidence and subsequent form slump, Piri please stand up. Too much pride can lead to arrogance and this I believe is happening from the coaching ranks right through to the CEO.
      There are a few the NZ Media which elaborate on the issues and i will post the links when i get time.

    • Roar Guru

      April 14th 2012 @ 11:58am
      Kane said | April 14th 2012 @ 11:58am | ! Report

      After the Sharks last try I believe it’s time to introduce a review for each team much like test cricket where a teams captain can have any part of an oppositions try looked at by request.

      • Roar Guru

        April 14th 2012 @ 12:44pm
        Cattledog said | April 14th 2012 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

        Have to agree there Kane. I think Steve Walsh is a good ref but was not assisted by his touchies on this occasion. As it turned out, a huge 7 points. How often do you think a captain should be able to contest a try? I would say only once per game, maybe per half but if proved correct, he has another opportunity.

        Rather bemused that error hasn’t been alluded to in the above article.

        • Roar Guru

          April 14th 2012 @ 12:46pm
          Kane said | April 14th 2012 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

          I would say once in a game but I agree with you if they are right then they should get another one. So they have one unsuccessful review.

        • Roar Guru

          April 14th 2012 @ 1:35pm
          Jiggles said | April 14th 2012 @ 1:35pm | ! Report

          Walsh was also poor at the scrum. Woodcock was folding like a pack of cards all night long with shoulders below his hips, and the blues front row was hardly ever level with straight backs. Yet a number of penalties went against the sharks.

    • Roar Guru

      April 14th 2012 @ 12:58pm
      Cattledog said | April 14th 2012 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

      Similarly, there appears to have been something said to the TMOs about providing decisions. Not sure if anyone else has noticed but there appears to have been some ‘clangers’ over the last couple of weeks. Not sure if this comes from some directive indicating ‘no procrastination, make a decision and stick with it’. The Sharks try by the winger where he played the ball twice, Higginbotham’s try against the Brumbies, the Force’s try by the half back last night and then the Waratah’s feed when the Waratah’s half back again clearly lost control of the ball forward attempting to score a quick try, which should have been a Force scrum (I think this was the situation). And this has only been the last couple of weeks.

      Whilst we sometimes used to see the same footage ad nauseam, now we seem to get about 15 seconds before a decision is made. When we have games that are 50-nil, then we don’t really need too spend much time checking. However, in the close contests we have been having, then I believe there’s some justifiable reasons to perhaps be a little more vigilant in both checking the footage and then providing to the referee the correct information.

    • April 14th 2012 @ 1:22pm
      west said | April 14th 2012 @ 1:22pm | ! Report

      BLUES RIGHT THE SEASON OFF!!!! and use the rest of the super 15 to recover and throw some new moves and new faces in to build some kind of team for next year. The Blues are a mess to be polite about it, never really looked like scoring even after twenty or more phases, don’t get me wrong Sharks had great defense. …Really or they had to do was bite time between screw ups.

    • April 14th 2012 @ 1:22pm
      west said | April 14th 2012 @ 1:22pm | ! Report

      BLUES RIGHT THE SEASON OFF!!!! and use the rest of the super 15 to recover and throw some new moves and new faces in to build some kind of team for next year. The Blues are a mess to be polite about it, never really looked like scoring even after twenty or more phases, don’t get me wrong Sharks had great defense. …Really or they had to do was bite time between screw ups.

    • April 14th 2012 @ 1:45pm
      Justin said | April 14th 2012 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

      The less said about this match the getter. It was comical how poor it was. The execution of skill and judgement/awarenss was appalling.

      Anyone who thinks the Sharks a re a good side need to ask why? If they make the finals the wont make it past the first week. The Blues have amazing strike power yet continue to bumble about for 70mins each week. There appears to be no game plan and they run around like headless chooks, week in week out.

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