Super Rugby
Ioane stars as Blues record second win
ESPN Staff
May 2, 2015
Report Match details
Date/Time: May 2, 2015, 17:30 local, 05:30 GMT
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Blues 41 - 24 Force
Half-time: 17 - 0
Tries: Ioane, Luatua, Nanai Vai 2, West
Cons: Bowden 2, Visinia, West 2
Pens: Bowden, West
Tries: Cowan, Hodgson, Louwrens, McCalman
Cons: Burton, Ebersohn
The Blues' Steven Luatua is tackled, Blues v Force, Auckland, May 2, 2015
The Blues' Steven Luatua is tackled
© Getty Images

Rookie winger Melani Nanai grabbed two tries as the Blues beat Western Force 41-24 in Auckland in a clash between two Super Rugby strugglers. It was just the Blues' second win of the season, both at Eden Park, and the match reinforced the growing reputation of teenage loose forward Akira Ioane.

The 19-year-old Ioane, who had kept All Black Steven Luatua out of the starting line-up, proved a constant threat with ball in hand on Saturday and he was solid in defence. He also scored a stunning 50-metre try, his speed taking him past five defenders.

In all the Blues touched down five times, but the win came at a cost. Two of their best performers of the season, All Blacks Jerome Kaino (finger) and Charles Piutau (knee), went off in the first half with what looked like significant injuries.

Blues 41-24 Force (Australia only)

The bottom-of-the-table Force did managed a spirited late fightback that produced a four-try bonus point, but the defeat meant an unwelcome statistic. Since their shock win over the defending champion NSW Waratahs in round one, they have lost 10 in a row - a franchise record. They weren't helped by having Dane Haylett-Petty yellow-carded late in the opening spell after the fullback took out winger Lolagi Visinia without the ball.

The Blues - having scored the game's opening try through Nanai, his first in Super Rugby - made the one-man advantage pay by running in a pair of tries on either side of the interval. Luatua, who had come on as Kaino's replacement, got the first and Nanai scored the second after a big bust from impressive second five-eighth George Moala. When Ioane dotted down in the corner after his scorching break, the score had ballooned out to 31-0.

The Force hit back with two quick tries to prop Pek Cowan and skipper Matt Hodgson. Blues replacement first-five Ihaia West then skipped over to increase the margin. But the visitors finished strongly, grabbing further tries through halfback Ryan Louwrens and prop Ben McCalman.

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