Blues outclass Waratahs 34-6 in Super 14 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Blues outclass Waratahs 34-6 in Super 14

By Adrian Warren 23/03/2007 10:39:03 PM Comments (0)

Candid NSW coach Ewen McKenzie admitted his struggling Waratahs weren't in the same class as the Blues after the New Zealand team inflicted a 34-6 thrashing on his side in Auckland and virtually extinguished its Super 14 finals hopes.

The result extended the second-from-bottom Waratahs' franchise record of Super games without a win to six and was one of their biggest defeats since the nightmarish 96-19 drubbing by the Crusaders in Christchurch almost five years ago.

The Blues, who have now won all six of their Super contests against the Waratahs at Eden Park, scored four tries to nil and jumped to the top of the table.

The home side enjoyed a huge advantage in territory and the Waratahs didn't help their own cause by missing 18 tackles.

The visitors only points came from two Peter Hewat first half penalties as they trailed 17-6 at the break.

While the Blues displayed some of their trademark razzle dazzle in attack, the Waratahs got no change whatsoever out of the home team's unyielding defence.

"It was more like damage control at times, but the guys hung in there and we never gave up, at least that was something," McKenzie said.

"They handled some of our strengths pretty well, they obviously benefited from the week off and did their homework. They are a difficult team to play because they are pretty confident in all areas of the game."

"We are not in the same class as that sort of side at the moment, so all we can do is examine all the bits and pieces of the game and keep working away."

While McKenzie last week suggested the Waratahs wouldn't abandon their finals hopes until it was mathematically impossible for them to make the last four, he conceded they were now in a very difficult position.

"We are not sitting here doing the sums and trying to work it out at the moment, we're just focusing on trying to get a win," McKenzie said.

"We are very much a one week at a time proposition at the moment."

Young backs Lachlan Turner and Kurtley Beale shone in difficult circumstances as did forward Tatafu Polota-Nau, who again performed well off the bench as a back-rower rather than in his more regular position of hooker.

But the Waratahs created few scoring opportunities as mistakes invariably snuffed out their attacks after two or three phases.

Conversely, the Blues produced some delightful sequences, with flanker Daniel Braid scoring their first try in the fifteenth minute after 14 phases.

Lock and captain Troy Flavell scored the Blues' second try after NSW lost possession from one of their lineout throws.

Australian-born half-back Steve Devine capitalised on another turnover to score the third try after 50 minutes.

The home side continued to dominate in the final quarter, but squandered opportunities until Flavell crossed for his second try from a scrum move close to the Waratahs' line with just over five minutes remaining.

Flavell's second five-pointer came when the Waratahs were down to 14 men after lock Will Caldwell was sin-binned following two quick infringements.

Worried about how much impact test back rower Wycliff Palu would have off the bench because of an ankle injury he suffered on Thursday, McKenzie opted to bring him in to the starting line-up in place of Beau Robinson.

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