Blues v B&I Lions – Match Stats
The Blues are the worst performing NZ Super Rugby team: this is a team that nearly lost to the Queensland Reds the previous week, and for all the razzle dazzle of their backline just had not been functioning for a solid 80 minutes all year.
The Lions failed to really get going, again. While the intensity was a step up from the first match against the Barbarians – and let’s be fair here, there was improvement – they still looked static and unsure how to really go wide, fast. There was that stodginess to the attacking combinations that is time & time our main criticism (rightly or wrongly) of Northern rugby. That failure to really pull the trigger as a unit was beginning to look like a problem of rust that could turn into real corrosion.
There were sparks of real aggression and enthusiasm from players like Itoje and Lawes, but it did not translate into real go forward. Things need to gel, and quickly with the Lions’ next opponent being the undefeated Crusaders.
In the end the Blues provided enough super Super moments – well, just two for their two tries. First Sonny Bill Williams’ in-goal scramble & persistence, and then Ihaia West’s dazzling run off an SBW offload to drag away from eight Lions’ defenders to seal the win. Super Boom Boom.
Sonny Bill Williams stood out. He delivered a performance that warranted selection: not just reputation here, but action. I have no problem with him being in black when he plays like that – it’s just how we all want him to play all the time.
Blues v British & Irish Lions 2017 Match Statistics Infographics