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Blues slump to another loss


Blues 23 Sharks 29

Sharks centre Tim Whitehead juggles the ball before crossing for a controversial try in the second-half.

Sharks centre Tim Whitehead juggles the ball before crossing for a controversial try in the second-half. Photo: Getty Images

The Sharks scored two tries in each half to beat the Blues 29-23 in the Super Rugby game in Auckland on Friday night, claiming a bonus point and pitching the Blues' season deeper into crisis.


Two tries from intercepts in the first half helped the Durban-based Sharks to a 15-0 lead over an Auckland team plagued by simple handling errors.

The Sharks then scored two tries in four minutes in the second half, after the Blues had rallied to lead 20-15, to regain their advantage and to close out their fourth win in eight games.

The Blues slumped to its sixth loss from seven games to remain at the bottom of the table at the end of a week of conflict and controversy.

In the worst week of the Blues' worst season, captain Keven Mealamu broke rugby's code of silence and publicly criticised All Blacks teammate Piri Weepu for his lack of fitness, tacitly laying the blame for Auckland's poor form with Weepu.

And in a tearful news conference, under-fire coach Pat Lam claimed to have been the target of racial abuse on talkback shows and social media from fans disgruntled with his team's performance.

The Blues made a poor start Friday, conceding an intercept try after only three minutes, then another after 17 minutes to trail 15-0 before the end of the first 20 minutes.

"Two intercept tries, that's 14 gift points," Mealamu said. "Against a side like the Sharks that's just too many points to give away."

The Blues came back with a try to All Blacks prop Tony Woodcock to trail by only two points, 15-13, at halftime. They then scored an intercept try of their own through center Benson Stanley to lead 20-15 only three minutes into the second half.

But rather than consolidating that comeback, they lapsed again into the unforced errors that have made a misery of their season. The Sharks scored tries in the 45th minute through captain Keegan Daniel and in the 49th through dangerous center Tim Whitehead to first regain the lead, then build a 29-20 advantage.

Though they had ample possession, the Blues were shut down by their own continued mistakes and by the smothering Sharks defence and made their only inroads into the Sharks' lead with a late penalty.

The loss was their eighth in succession in matches against the Sharks.

The Blues next travel to Dunedin for a tough ninth-round match against the Highlanders while the Sharks return home after winning two and losing two of their matches on a four-match swing through Australia and New Zealand.

"We're very happy with the way things ended. We mixed our form on tour but to come to the home of rugby and come away with five points, we're chuffed with that," Daniel said.

"We had to defend for most of the first half and that's probably been one of our downfalls over the last few weeks. I'm proud of the way the boys defended and we got four tries to take a bonus point so I'm happy with that."

SHARKS 29 (Craig Burden, Keegan Daniel, Steven Sykes, Tim Whitehead tries Patrick Lambie 3 cons pen) bt BLUES 23 (Benson Stanley, Tony Woodcock tries Gareth Anscombe 2 cons 2 pens drop goal) at Eden Park. Referee: Steve Walsh.


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Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
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NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
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SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
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Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
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ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 24vs ARG 13 Stats
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NZL 34vs AUS 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
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