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Tahs Overcome Blue Hoodoo at SFS
Tahs Overcome Blue Hoodoo at SFS
(Dunning gives Auckland the blues)
01 Apr 2001
A fine, clear, cool evening in Sydney, good rugby weather, though a South Island NZ team would probably have expired from heat exhaustion. Fortunately it was Auckland, disguised as England, over to do battle and attempt to once again deny victory to NSW. A healthy 31 thousand in for this clash. Surprisingly, not all of them are Kiwis. Looks like the SFS cronies actually learned how to count. Maybe they were cheating on their GST with their previous crowd figures.

Kickoff at 7:35pm local and an early penalty is given to the Tahs in Auckland's territory by the touch judge for some infringement he appears to make up. Nice work, and I'll get that fifty to you later.. Matt Burke has no trouble slotting it.

Auckland are unlucky to be ruled against for a try scored shortly afterwards, the reason cited being obstruction, but it was more likely a maul situation and not obstruction. Nice work Andre, I'll get you that hundred later.

The ball is fumbled by Aiieee! five or so metres out from the Blue line and the Tahs do a spectacular job of botching a golden opportunity. Tahs pull a penalty and have a go at a lineout in the corner but don't get a try.

Matt Burke takes another penalty and then has his only unsuccessful crack (from 51 metres) for the evening. Some long-haired lout gives away his 238th penalty for the match (hopefully he was penalised at least once purely for that hair) and the Tahs go for the attacking lineout again and this time retrieve the ball and maul it over for a great forwards try, once again proving that forwards do all the work and have all the skills. Some pretty boy back converts.

The Blues then launch a good assault on the Tahs and Joeli Vidiri storms down the sideline but that same pretty boy I just mentioned, Matt Burke, shows once again why he is the only choice for the Wallaby 15 jersey, brilliantly forcing Vidiri into touch in goal.

Another penalty for Matt Burke, a good try to the Blues, Howlett smashing through Williams in his quest for the line to score the only Blues points for the first half. Its half time with a score of 16-5.

Second half and Aiieee! butchers a try. The Tahs mount an attack on the Blues and there is a high tackle and then half the Blues are offside and tackling. Andre could earn himself some big bucks carding most of the Blues and giving a penalty try, but settles for one yellow to Mark Robinson.

The Tahs manage to turn an extra man into points when Nathan Grey busts the line and scores under the posts. This is soon followed by a similar try to Vidiri, hitting the ball at pace and on a killer angle to break the Tahs line and cross for the try.

Another Burke penalty and then Robinson crosses for the Blues to give them their third try. The conversion puts the score at 26-19 and the Blues seem to be on the comeback trail with a couple of quick tries and most of the momentum.

Tahs defence is tiring and the Blues get a 5 man overlap on their left on the Tahs 22, with only the fat and slow Dunning to beat. In something out of the wildest fantasies of props everywhere with big hearts and bigger guts, he takes a screamer of an intercept and storms away, floating a long and accurate pass to Brendan Williams. I nearly wet myself, I am so elated. Some excellent scrambling Blues defence pulls Williams up. Burke kicks a penalty. The Blues get an attacking lineout on the Tahs goal line but don't get the try. The Tahs seem to have been rejuvenated by the actions of their loosehead prop.

Flavell gets binned for dropping the shoulder into a Waratah in the maul. The Tahs then put unrelenting pressure on the Blues and Burke kicks a penalty. He gets another penalty and toys with the crowd pretending to take the lineout option before kicking for goal. Final score 35-19.

Another good home win for the Tahs, a hoodoo team beaten and an all-round high-quality game. It would be good to see them get an away win or two, but winning home games will do me as I am sticking to my being happy with top 6 call from before the season started. The Blues were unlucky, they were good and looking very dangerous late in the game, but a couple of harsh early decisions, a freak in a number 1 jersey, their own extremely ill-disciplined performance and the boot of Matthew Burke all cost them dearly.

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Let us know what you think!

I'm afraid the "dress like England, play like England" bogie got the poor old Blues, that and their shocking lack of discipline and poor option taking...and the boot of Burke!
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