Rugby: Blues hold on to beat Force

Somehow the Blues managed to hang on to beat the Force and keep their faintest playoff hopes alive.

They were in full meltdown mode in the last 10 minutes - doing almost everything they shouldn't. They were rash. They were loose. They were all over the place - guilty of the dumbest stuff and yet, somehow, they hung on.

And because their luck held out, their season isn't over quite yet. They can't be considered a good bet to win any more games, but on the points table at least, they look like a contender.

But they will need to fix a million things. They were a bit of a shambles in the second half in Perth - and really only managed to win because the Force were a travesty as well.

The positive for the Blues was that they had the determination and urgency to take charge of the game. They didn't lack confidence or hang back - it was direct and resourceful rugby that got them ahead and put the disaster of Johannesburg behind them early.

What will have pleased coach Tana Umaga in the first half was the awareness. Conditions were variable in Perth. A storm had raged all day and while the worst of it had passed by kick off, there was a gusty wind and squally rain.

The Force seemed to have the mindset that there was no real way to play rugby and they kicked and chased - not particularly well. The Blues, on the other hand, were willing to back their skills and held the ball. They pushed long passes and threw offloads which stuck.

It was perhaps risky - but it was well judged risk and brought them plenty of reward.

No one was better at earning those rewards than George Moala. He suddenly, after having been mostly out of sorts this season, found his form. He was direct. He was strong and he didn't overplay his offloading card. He threw plenty, but none were ill-judged and it made a huge difference.

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22.05.2016 (22.05.2016)
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