Blues were dominant all over the park

Righto, match report after I’ve got home, cooled down and had something to eat and drink.

Blues were dominant all over the park.
Scoreline didn’t reflect it.

Refereeing was spectacularly incompetent at times… the ‘forward pass’ was up there with Wayne Barnes at Eden Park. What was particularly funny was the pass got caught by Rieko behind Akira… so he was always behind his man - but forward?

Shocking call, TMO needs a lesson in physics.

Lots got missed by the refs all day. Plenty of defensive lineout drives going in early, before the jumper had feet on the ground. Side entry in rucks was generally just ignored.

Bright spots - a very dominant Blues performance. Hard to see where the points would come from for the Highlanders - needed cards and penalties to threaten. A Smith is magic, still a world class 9.

Plummer played well, which I was stoked to see.

Forwards were very physical and very good. Highlanders forwards lacked conditioning - were walking after about 25 minutes. Akira looked good, Hoskins looked very good, and the tight 5 were strong.

I’m looking forward to a re-watch, but penalising Sotutu for setting up to jump and catch a ball was… interesting refereeing.

Rieko has some serious gas out there. He came from deep to catch the ball from Akira, had 35 to go and defenders around him, and just made them look silly. Serious physical attributes, and still learning the centre role. Looking very good, and getting better.

Perofeta is a masterstroke at the back. He’s Cashmore like - solid, you don’t notice him, because he just does it all easily and without looking rushed or like it’s going to turn to custard. The anti-Jordie if you like 😃 Good game from him though.

Good day out, refereeing was average, but a bloody good win with a scoreline that seriously flattered the Highlanders. Needed a BP win and got it, we’ll take that every day of the week.

More on the Ioane’s Try

The place went absolutely nuts, as it should. Just a magnificent try rubbed out by a depth of TMO incompetence that was truly remarkable.

The video doesn’t show quite how much work Rieko had to do either. He was covered, had to slow, change direction and then accelerate again to gas the chasers. Was a thing of beauty. He’s not Conrad, but Conrad never had that pace and muscle.

Developing very nicely. Just need to see him throw some nice passes to set the outsides away now.

Also noticeable was how his gas lets him get away with non-perfect defensive alignment. He can leave a bit of room and still chase people down. Generally, the Blues tackling was excellent - lots of last ditch tackles made that (if we’d missed some) would have been seriously problematic.

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