Sun, Apr 14, 2013 - Page 18 News List

Quade Cooper steers Reds to upset win

STAR QUALITY:The Queensland Reds’ flyhalf dictated their clash against the Waikato Chiefs and scored a game-breaking try, as well as 11 points with the boot

AFP, HAMILTON, New Zealand

The Blues’ emphatic win kept them in touch with the New Zealand conference-leading Waikato Chiefs, who were upset by the Queensland Reds in Hamilton, as the season nears the halfway mark.

Winger Frank Halai put the Blues on the board in the 13th minute, cantering under the posts after some sharp work upfield from scrumhalf Piri Weepu, fullback Charles Piutau and flyhalf Chris Noakes.

Noakes converted and the Blues kept the Hurricanes scoreless for nearly half an hour, until Samoan international flyhalf Tusi Pisi marked his first start for the Super Rugby side with a poised drop-goal against the run of play.

Beauden Barrett, shifted from flyhalf to fullback, brought the Hurricanes back within a point with a penalty, but the Blues ramped up the pressure toward the end of the half.

Flanker Luatua barged through four tackles and charged for the line, but was held up by Hurricanes scrumhalf T.J. Perenara.

However, it was a brief reprieve, as fullback Charles Piutau swooped to plant the ball over the line on the stroke of halftime after receiving from the 5m scrum.

Hooker James Parsons added to the Hurricanes’ pain by thundering over near the left corner a few minutes after the break, after taking a perfectly weighted inside pass from Noakes to pad the score to 19-6.

Piutau squandered a gilt-edged chance for a second try in the 57th minute when he fumbled a dribbled ball when diving over the line, but prop Tom McCartney made up for it with the Blues’ fourth a few minutes later, burrowing under the Wellington defense for a try under the posts.

The Blues defended stoutly for the remaining 20 minutes, with Luatua capping a barnstorming game by holding up replacement back Reynold Lee-lo to keep the Hurricanes scoreless and improve his chances of All Blacks selection.

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