Blues snatch last-gasp victory in Whangarei
The Blues have picked up their first win of the preseason beating the Waratahs 40-36 in Whangarei.
Following on from their 45-31 loss to the Reds last weekend, there was some importance on the Blues ending up on the right side of the ledger in this game and it was something they only just achieved with Peter Saili scoring the match-winning try from the last play of the game.
Played in front of around 5000 spectators, this was a game where neither team's coaches would have been happy with their defensive play, but attacking wise they can be optimistic about the season ahead.
Drew Mitchell got a 'Welcome to New Zealand' message in the eighth minute when Blues captain Ali Williams put a crunching shoulder tackle in on the Wallabies winger to force a turnover.
Two minutes later Lolagi Visinia scored the opening try, benefitting from a great offload by Peter Saili as he was tackled 10m from the Waratahs' line.
In the 19th minute fullback Cam Crawford ran over the top of Visinia for the Waratahs' first points, with Brendan McKibbon kicking the extras, then eight minutes into the second quarter Peter Saili scored for the Blues as they drove over from a lineout deep inside the Waratahs' half.
Israel Folau came on for the Waratahs at the beginning of the second half as both sides made numerous changes and within a minute Jed Holloway scooped up a loose ball on the halfway line and ran all the way in for the try.
Seven minutes later Tom Kingston's dream day began, he rounded the Blues defence for the Waratahs' third try and Kingston got his second shortly after when he was fed the ball from Folau in a backline move.
Replacement prop Tim Perry stopped the rot with a try for the Blues in the 55th minute.
At the beginning of the final quarter there was some abysmal defending from the Blues as they slipped off tackles in a move that led to Folau bagging a try.
Waisaki Naholo scored for the Blues from the restart and Baden Kerr's conversion made the score 31-26 in the Waratahs' favour with 16 minutes to go.
Malakai Fekitoa's dance through the Waratahs defence four minutes later squared the scores and Kerr then put the Blues back in front with a kick from under the posts.
This was followed by Kingston's third try and it looked to be the match winner, especially as the Blues looked unable to get anything from a sustained period of pressure.
But with the last attack of the game Peter Saili crashed in from a metre out to snatch the victory.
Blues 40 Lolagi Visinia, Peter Saili 2, Tim Perry, Waisake Naholo, Malakai Fekkitoa tries; Albert Nikoro con, Baden Kerr 4 cons. Waratahs 36 Cam Crawford, Jed Holloway, Tom Kingston 3, Israel Folau tries; Brendan McKibbon, Bernard Foley cons, Matt Lucas con. HT: 12-7