Super Rugby: The Blues shrug off troubled week with 21-13 succes against Waratahs
Last Updated: 25/04/14 9:33am
The Blues kept their slender Super Rugby play-off hopes alive by beating New South Wales Waratahs 21-13 at Eden Park on Friday.
The much-needed win came after the midweek announcement that the Blues' marquee signing, former New Zealand rugby league captain Benji Marshall, was leaving the club after failing to adapt to rugby union.
The Auckland-based side overcame that distraction to produce their most determined performance of the season and a two tries to one success.
The Blues are unbeaten at home this season but away losses to the Brumbies and Hurricanes in recent matches dropped them down the championship ladder.
Young winger Lolagi Visinia scored one try and created another as the Blues, who started the match in 11th place, upset the fourth-placed Waratahs to improve their record for the season to 4-5 from nine games.
Visinia started and finished the Blues first try in the 22nd minute, capturing a high kick under pressure and linking with Ma'a Nonu who provided the last, long pass from which the winger scored.
The first half was full of action from two of the most star-studded backlines in the tournament but scoring proved difficult and the Blues went to the break with an 8-3 lead.
Visinia also started the movement that led to the second Blues try; winning possession from a kick, handing off to Charlie Piutau who in turn fed Francis Saili who scored.
The Blues led 18-3 with that try but the Waratahs came back strongly with a try to lock Jacques Potgeiter, closing to 18-13 before the home side edged away with a late penalty from Simon Hickey.
Super Rugby 2014 Round 11
Western Force moved third in the Super Rugby standings after Sias Ebersohn kicked them to 15-9 victory over the Bulls.
Hurricanes moved top of the New Zealand conference with a 35-21 bonus-point triumph over the Reds on Saturday.
Highlanders ran in four tries as they pulled off a shock 34-18 victory over Super Rugby leaders Sharks at Kings Park.