Blues thrash Waratahs to reach Super Rugby semifinals

rugby09 June 2023 09:49| © Reuters

The Blues stormed into the semifinals of Super Rugby Pacific with a 41-12 demolition of the hapless New South Wales Waratahs at Eden Park on Friday.

Finlay Christie, Nepo Laulala, Ricky Riccitelli, Zarn Sullivan and Mark Telea crossed for the Blues who stretched their winning streak to nine over the outclassed Waratahs in Michael Hooper's final game for the Australian side.

"There's still work to be done, but still pretty happy with that performance," said Blues captain Dalton Papalii.

"They're a good team and it's such a hard competition now ... We just knew we had to bring it."

The Waratahs, thrashed 55-21 in their previous meeting at Eden Park, snatched a try through Ned Hanigan in the third minute from a Blues mistake and led 7-0 in a heady start.

But that was as good as it got for Darren Coleman's team who were then kept scoreless until 10 minutes from the siren when winger Dylan Pietsch ran onto a cross-kick for an easy try.

"It's disappointing," said Waratahs captain Jed Holloway.

"A couple of great men ... finished their careers at the club and it's disappointing we sent them out like that.

"They (Blues) made a mess of our breakdown. We paid for it and gave them a couple of easy exits through indiscipline."

The remaining three quarterfinals will all be played on Saturday, starting with the table-topping Chiefs hosting the Reds in Hamilton.

The defending champion Crusaders then meet playoffs debutants Fijian Drua in Christchurch before the Brumbies host the Hurricanes in the late match in Canberra.