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Blues slump to another loss

Date

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.

MATCH STATS

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.

AP

HuffPost Australia

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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