The Blues levelled their pre-season ledger after a last-gasp
Peter Saili try snatched a 40-36 victory over the Waratahs in
After losing 41-35 to the Reds in Toowoomba last weekend, Sir
John Kirwan's side continued their pre-season preparations
with another high-scoring affair.
Kirwan will be pleased by the performance of his dynamic
young backs as he aims to right a ship which went horribly
awry in 2012.
New captain Ali Williams also made a solid start in his first
action of the year, contributing some big hits in defence and
running well with the ball before being substituted at the
Northland local Rene Ranger always threatened with ball in
hand and created a number of try-scoring opportunities, while
Culum Retallick, George Moala and Chris Noakes all returned
to action following injuries.
"I was really happy with their courage and commitment today,"
Kirwan said. "We did some really good things.
"We went away from our systems a wee bit but then worked
really hard. We hung in there and never gave up so they're
all things that you can be proud of."
After taking a 12-7 halftime lead through tries to young
winger Lolagi Visinia and No 8 Saili, code-hopper Israel
Folau's introduction to the game had an immediate impact as
he set up two tries and crossed himself with a sensational
After Blues prop Tom Perry dotted down, Waisake Naholo
notched two tries to put the Blues ahead before Tom
Kingston's third try of the afternoon appeared to clinch
victory for the visitors with just minutes left on the clock.
But Saili bashed his way over from close range to clinch the
win after the siren had sounded and send home the 5000-strong
Northland crowd on a high.
The Blues will complete their pre-season preparations against
the Highlanders in Queenstown on Friday.
Blues 40 (Saili 2, Naholo 2, Visinia, Perry tries; Nikoro
con, Kerr 4 con), Waratahs 36 (Kingston 3, Crawford,
Holloway, Folau tries; McKibbin con, Foley con, Lucas con).