Heem hat-trick powers Blues to victory
The Blues continued New Zealand’s dominance of the opening rounds of the trans-Tasman Super Rugby series on Saturday with a 48-21 win over the Waratahs at Eden Park.
Bryce Heem scored a hat-trick of tries as the Blues earned a bonus point and maintained the 100 per cent win record for New Zealand teams since the competition started last Friday with a strong second-half performance.
The defeat was a record 10th straight loss for the error-prone Waratahs, who finished bottom of the standings in last month’s Super Rugby Australia having lost all eight of their games in the domestic competition.
The Blues, as expected, took command in the early stages and opened up a 15-point lead by the 29th minute thanks to tries from Heem and Tom Robinson.
But Angus Bell burst through the home side’s defence to reduce the deficit before Jake Gordon anticipated Finlay Christie’s pass to steal possession and reduce the Blues’ lead to a point.
Kurt Eklund’s try three minutes before the break restored some breathing space for the Blues at the interval when he pushed his way over the line from close range.
Rieko Ioane scored with an opportunist’s effort before a penalty try gave the Blues a 22-point lead, which was trimmed when Tahs hooker Dave Porecki drove across the line despite the Waratahs being down to 14 men following Harry Johnson-Holmes’ sin-binning.
However, Heem slid across the line with 12 minutes to go to secure the bonus point before scoring his third try on the break two minutes from time to put the seal on the result.
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