Still deprived of Dan Carter, whose return to New Zealand lawns will have to wait, the Auckland Blues chained a third victory in three games in Super Rugby Aotearoa, Saturday against the Dunedin Highlanders (27-24).
The Blues, in front of tens of thousands of spectators committed to their cause at Eden Park, continue to occupy alone the head of the Super Rugby Aotearoa, New Zealand version of the championship which traditionally opposes franchises from New Zealand and Australia , South Africa, Argentina and Japan, suspended this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
On Saturday, the Blues did the hardest part in the first period, arriving at half time with a clear 22-10 advantage. In the second half, they held out despite the repeated assaults of their opponents, who suffered their first defeat of the season.
The Auckland franchise was worn by the young third line wing of the All Blacks Dalton Papali'i, 22, the author of two essays.
Defensively, they relied on the power of Hoskins Sotutu, their third center line, who twice repelled the assaults of the Highlanders a few meters from the end of the game.
Opposite, the 14 points of Mitch Hunt, the back of the Highlanders, were not enough against the franchise of Auckland which, over the weeks, confirms his return to the forefront of New Zealand rugby.
Blues fans will however have to wait to see the legend Dan Carter again in a New Zealand jersey.
Five years after leaving the Crusaders and the squad, the triple best player in the world, 38, was missing from the game sheet. The next Blues game is scheduled for July 11 on the Crusaders, a franchise that Carter has worn for ten years.
The results of the 3rd day:
Blues - Highlanders 27 - 24
(Sunday at 5:35 am)
Crusaders - Chiefs
© 2020 AFP