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Blues break road hoodoo

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Lynn McConnell     08 May 2016     Getty Images

Wing Tevita Li's speed capped the day for the Blues who had been on the back foot after a series of Kings drives before a penalty was conceded. Fullback Lolagi Visinia took a tap kick and the ball was moved through 15 pairs of hands probing and pushing their way forward before a back pass from replacement halfback Billy Guyton found Li who had too much speed for the defence.

It ended 27 away games without a win and came on the back of significant displays by man of the match Steven Luatua from No.8 and lock Patrick Tuipulotu who goes from strength to strength since returning from injury.

Malani Nanai marked his return to the wing, in place of Sevens representative Rieko Ioane, with two tries in five minutes to give the Blues a significant half-time buffer of 19-10.

Through the early stages it appeared it was going to be a contest determined by who could achieve the most lineout driving mauls.



At their first attempt on a driving lineout, when having eschewed the penalty goal chance, the Blues made no mistake and drove over with captain and hooker James Parsons getting the try after eight minutes.

The Kings responded with their own attempted drive after the Blues were caught attempting to run the ball out from their line only to be driven into touch. The Kings won the ball and started to drive but were forced to release the ball to the backs where centre Stefan Watermeyer and second five-eighths Shane Gates both had attempts to get through before halfback James Hall placed the ball at the base of a goalpost to score.

Having tried three times to launch more rolling mauls the Blues, in the 24th minute, unleashed a set move after flanker Jerome Kaino won the ball at the front of the lineout. He released for Bryn Hall to fire a long pass to blindside wing Nanai to run straight into a hole and through beneath the posts for his first try.

Five minutes later he was in again with a slight variation, the ball coming from first five-eighths Ihaia West but with the same effect allowing the Blues to go to the halftime break up 19-10.

A five-metre scrum to the Kings saw them work a move close to the scrum on the open side which carried the ball towards the line. It was then moved back to the right with lock and captain Steven Sykes flicking the ball quickly to hooker Edgar Marutlulle to score after 53 minutes.

When fullback Jurgen Visser blasted a 50m penalty goal in difficult kicking conditions the Kings went into the last quarter four points behind at 18-22.

But that was short-lived after replacement halfback Billy Guyton marked his arrival with a try. It came after the Kings managed to turn over Blues ball in their goalmouth to win a scrum.

However a Blues tighthead created a chance and Guyton was able to run through a huge gap to score under the posts.

It wasn't as convincing as the Blues might have liked but it ended the away drought and kept them in the hunt in the Australasian Conference.

Scorers: Kings 18 (James Hall, Edgard Marutlulle tries; Elgar Watts con, pen; Jurgen Visser pen) Blues 34 (James Parsons, Melani Nanai 2, Billy Guyton tries; Ihaia West 3 con, pen). HT 10-19.