Blues finally end losing run against Lions

00:02, May 12 2012
Blues v Crusaders
Blues No.8 Jerome Kaino attempts to score against the Crusaders.
Blues v Crusaders
Blues centre Rene Ranger on the charge.
Blues v Crusaders
Blues loosehead prop Tom McCartney attempts to charge the kick of Crusaders first five Tyler Bleyendaal.
Blues v Crusaders
Crusaders captain Kieran Read is tackled by Blues fullback Isaia Toeava.
Blues v Crusaders
Blues blindside flanker Chris Lowrey and Blues No.8 Jerome Kaino atempt to score against the Crusaders.
Blues v Crusaders
Blues first five Michael Hobbs is tackled by Crusaders second five Ryan Crotty.
Blues v Crusaders
Blues wing David Raikuna celebrates his try with Blues openside flanker Daniel Braid.
Blues v Crusaders
Blues captain Keven Mealamu in action against the Crusaders.
Blues v Crusaders
Blues replacement Piri Weepu in action against the Crusaders.
Blues v Crusaders
Jerome Kaino attempts to charge the kick of Crusaders halfback Andy Ellis.
David Raikuna
The Blues' David Raikuna is tackled during their second round loss against the Chiefs.
Piri Weepu, Aaron Cruden and Jerome Kaino
Piri Weepu and Jerome Kaino of the Blues chase down Aaron Cruden and the ball.
Isaia Toeava
Isaia Toeava of the Blues makes a break during the round two Super Rugby match between the Chiefs and the Blues.
Piri Weepu
Piri Weepu runs at the Chiefs line after coming on as a second half substitute.
Benson Stanley
Benson Stanley passes to his right, under pressure from Sonny Bill Williams.
Michael Hobbs
Blues first-five Michael Hobbs is hit by Sonny Bill Williams after punting the ball downfield.
Blues v Bulls
Jacques Potgieter of the Bulls is tackled by Benson Stanley and Luke Braid of the Blues.
Blues v Bulls
Alby Mathewson of the Blues in action against the Bulls.
Blues v Bulls
Ali Williams of the Blues and Juandre Kruger of the Bulls.
Blues v Bulls
Ma'a Nonu of the Blues is tackled by Morne Steyn of the Bulls.
Blues v Bulls
Rene Ranger of the Blues is tackled by Akona Ndungane of the Bulls.
Blues v Bulls
Wynand Olivier of the Bulls is tackled by Daniel Braid of the Blues.
BBlues gallery
Andries Bekker of the Stormers charges the Blues' defence.
BBlues gallery
Stormers hooker Tiaan Liebenberg charges the Blues' defence.
BBlues gallery
Blues centre Ma'a Nonu finds a gap against the Stormers.
BBlues gallery
Chris Lowrey of the Blues passes against the Stormers.
BBlues gallery
Stormers flanker Duane Vermeulen wins the lineout dagainst the Blues.
Blues v Hurricanes
Blues lock Ali Williams claims a restart against the Hurricanes.
Blues v Hurricanes
Hurricanes fullback Andre Taylor steps past Blues fullback Lachie Munro as he heads to the try-line.
Blues v Hurricanes
Blues second five eighth Ma'a Nonu dives over to score in the tackle of Hurricanes flanker Jack Lam.
Blues v Hurricanes
Ma'a Nonu of the Blues celebrates with Piri Weepu after scoring a try against the Hurricanes at Eden Park.
Blues v Rebels
Gareth Anscombe of the Blues is hauled in by Rebels defenders during their round seven match.
Blues v Rebels
Ma'a Nonu of the Blues looks to get past James O’Connor of the Rebels.
Blues v Rebels
Ali Williams of the Blues runs with the ball against the Rebels.
Blues v Rebels
Rudi Wulf of the Blues is tackled by Rebels defenders during their round seven match.
Blues v Rebels
James O’Connor of the Rebels celebrates with Mitch Inman after he scored against the Blues.
Blues v Rebels
The Rebels celebrate after they defeated the Blues.
blues gallery
The Blues are disconsolate after conceding a try to the Sharks.
Blues v Sharks
Blues fans show their support for coach Pat Lam.
Blues v Sharks
Michael Hobbs juggles the ball during the Blues loss to the Sharks.
Blues v Sharks
Ma'a Nonu chases JP Pietersen and the ball during the Blues' loss to the Sharks.
Blues v Sharks
Ma'a Nonu and Gareth Anscombe discuss tactics during the Blues' loss to the Sharks.
Blues v Sharks
Blues players celebrate Benson Stanley's try against the Sharks.
Blues v Highlanders
Highlanders player Hosea Gear about to be tackled by Blues players.
Blues v Highlanders
Highlanders' Jarrad Hoeata tackling Blues' George Moala.
Blues v Highlanders
Blues player Tom McCartney lines up the Highlanders' Adam Thomson.
Blues v Highlanders
Rene Ranger of the Blues dives for the tryline against the Highlanders.
Blues v Highlanders
Tom McCartney of the Blues shows his disappointment after their loss to the Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
Blues v Reds
Blues tighthead prop Charlie Faumuina tackled by Reds' Scott Higginbotham.
Blues v Reds
Blues first five Gareth Anscombe tries to escape from Reds centre Digby Ioane.
Blues v Reds
Blues lock Filo Paulo scragged by Reds first five Ben Lucas.
Blues v Reds
Reds centre Digby Ioane runs at Blues second-five Ma'a Nonu.
Hurricanes v Blues
Hurricanes' Karl Lowe on the charge against the Blues.
Hurricanes v Blues
Victor Vito wins the ball over Ma'a Nonu.
Hurricanes v Blues
Cory Jane slips through a Piri Weepu tackle.
Hurricanes v Blues
Blues' Piri Weepu passes against the Hurricanes.
Hurricanes v Blues
Blues centre Ma'a Nonu runs at Lions halfback Ross Cronje.
Hurricanes v Blues
Blues halfback Piri Weepu tries to escape from Lions flanker Grant Hattingh.
Hurricanes v Blues
Blues wing Benson Stanley is tackled by Lions wing Deon Van Rensburg.
Hurricanes v Blues
Blues wing Benson Stanley tries to step Lions fullback Andries Coetzee.
Hurricanes v Blues
Blues second-five Michael Hobbs scores the opening try against the Lions.
Hurricanes v Blues
Referee Angus Gardner issues a yellow card to Deon van Rensburg of the Lions.
Hurricanes v Blues
Blues right wing David Raikuna in action against the Lions.
Hurricanes v Blues
David Raikuna (L) and Ma'a Nonu against the Crusaders at the new AMI Stadium at Rugby League Park in Christchurch.
Hurricanes v Blues
Zac Guildford is tackled by Angus Ta'avao (top) and Steven Luata of the Blues at the new AMI Stadium at Rugby League Park in Christchurch.
Hurricanes v Blues
Robbie Fruean on attack against the Blues at the new AMI Stadium at Rugby League Park in Christchurch.
Hurricanes v Blues
Dan Carter cool under pressure against the Blues at the new AMI Stadium at Rugby League Park in Christchurch.
Blues V Highlanders
Highlanders centre Tamati Ellison is tackled by Blues' second-five Michael Hobbs.
Blues V Highlanders
Blues reserves Piri Weepu, Ma'a Nonu and Ali Williams on the bench against the Highlanders.
Blues V Highlanders
Highlanders left wing Hosea Gear in action against the Blues.
Blues V Highlanders
Blues right wing David Raikuna is scragged by Highlanders halfback Jimmy Cowan.
Blues V Highlanders
Blues tighthead prop Tevita Mailau scores against the Highlanders.
Blues v Chiefs
Rene Ranger sets up the Blues' second try.
Blues v Chiefs
Lachie Munroe scores for the Blues.
Blues v Chiefs
Chiefs and Blues players have a group hug at North Harbour Stadium.
Blues v Chiefs
Blues player Francis Saili is tackled by Chiefs player Sona Taumalolo.
Blues v Force
Francis Saili is tackled by the Force's Nick Cummins.
Blues v Force
Francis Saili fends the Force's Will Tupou.
Blues v Force
Piri Weepu in action against the Force.
Blues v Force
Ma'a Nonu in action against the Force.
Blues v Force
Luke Braid in action against the Force.
Blues v Brumbies
Ma'a Nonu of the Blues is tackled against the Brumbies at Canberra Stadium.
Blues v Brumbies
Alby Mathewson of the Blues kicks the ball against the Brumbies at Canberra Stadium.
Blues v Brumbies
Blues players celebrate after winning their round 18 match against the Brumbies at Canberra Stadium.
Blues v Brumbies
Robbie Coleman of the Brumbies is tackled against the Blues at Canberra Stadium.

A collective, and temporary, sigh of relief was felt in Auckland as the beleaguered Blues dodged embarrassment with a 25-3 defeat of the Lions which finally ended seven-weeks of agony.

With the backdrop of coach Pat Lam's job being advertised, the Blues could have easily used that as another excuse for another poor performance.

They could have pointed to their nine injured players, or their uncertain future. But they didn't.

The clinical aspect was again absent and it sure wasn't pretty, but at least there was enthusiasm for the cause, possibly a pact to take some pressure off the under-siege Lam.

The Blues had never lost to the Lions, dating back to 2006. But if they were ever going to suffer the ignominy of defeat to the perennial cellar-dwellers of Super Rugby, there was a feeling this could be the night.

On the hallowed Eden Park turf, New Zealand's home of rugby no less, it couldn't get any worse than that dreaded scenario.

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Thankfully, they weren't about to let that happen. The Lions didn't get close.

This was an average, low-grade contest between Super Rugby's basement batters. A hard watch is putting it mildly. The match will make few highlight reels with errors riddled throughout. But that's no surprise, unlike the starting return of All Blacks prop Tony Woodcock, who recovered from a calf strain, for a welcome 50-minute stint.

The sight of Charlie Faumuina being helped from field in the second half wasn't so welcome. After a strong season and with the ability to play both sides of the scrum, Faumuina could be out of All Blacks contention with what appeared to be a serious calf strain.

With the John Mitchell-Carlos Spencer led Lions on borrowed time - they are likely to be forced to merge with the Cheetahs with the introduction of the Southern Kings next year - having not won since round one and the Blues' losing streak dating two months, expectations were non-existent.

The terraces were closed to make the Blues' smallest crowd of the season

(10,127) appear less unflattering. But it didn't work. Support has been dwindling by the day and the supersized stadium looked near-deserted. Then again, the Blues' marketing department have had their work cut out this year. Seven straight defeats is a hard sell for anyone.

Restored to first five-eighths, Gareth Anscombe took control with heady decisions allowing the Blues to set-up camp on the Lions' line for much of the match. But their flat-lining confidence was evident in the lack of attacking potency. They repeatedly lurched laterally with no-one making defining impact and, therefore, only converted three of their many opportunities.

Michael Hobbs finished the only bright patch of the first spell after waltzing through some woeful defence for the opening try and the Blues held on for a 10-3 half-time lead.

With visiting wing Deon van Rensburg sin-binned for a cynical offense on his line, Alby Mathewson took advantage of a scrum error to scamper 30 meters which effectively sealed the result. Blues captain Luke Braid drove over for a late five-pointer. But little else was worth noting. The Blues' ill-discipline kept the out-of-their-depth Lions in the match when they should have been floored well earlier.

The Lions now seem set for another wooden spoon. That may have been the surest bet of the year. But with the Crusaders in Christchurch next week, the Blues won't be celebrating. This was a band-aid fix on a gaping wound.

Lions: Elton Jantjies pen

Blues: Michael Hobbs, Alby Mathewson, Luke Braid tries Gareth Anscombe con 2, pen 2

HT: 10-3

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