Friday, April 06, 2012
The Blues slumped to a new low as they were beaten 34-23 by the Rebels in Super Rugby's Thursday night clash Melbourne. James O'Connor came into his own as the home side won back-to-back matches for the first time in the competition.
After having finished last in their inaugral season, the Rebels boosted their squad this year with the inclusion of ace Wallaby backs Kurtley Beale and James O'Connor. It's working for them so far as this week the two of them played a vital part in the win, as did Danny Cipriani, who is in good form.
"Having Danny inside me, I can play the role that I want," O'Connor said. "He controls the game really well and I can have more of a run and get into the second receiver a little bit more and obviously I've got a world-class player outside me in Kurtley and Mitch Inman's really stepped up."
The game went down to the final few minutes as the Rebels win looked secure before a late Chris Lowrey set things up for a tight finish. Rebels captain Gareth Delve drove over with time almost over though, adding some comfort to the scoreline and robbing the Blues of a losing bonus point.
"It was another real nailbiter, a bit closer than we'd have liked," said Welshman Delve.
"We're still a young team and looking to develop and that was another big step forward. The way we stuck together shows how we're coming together as a side."
It was the fifth loss in six matches for the Blues, who are missing some key players but now sit firmly on the bottom of the New Zealand conference.