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Blues put half-century on Western Force


The Blues have run in eight tries against the Western Force to move to the top of the Super Rugby Pacific standings.


Halfback Taufa Funaki scored a double as the Blues were never in danger, cruising to their largest victory against the struggling Force, 50-3 in Round 7 at Eden Park in Auckland on Friday night.



The win, their sixth in seven matches, took the Blues to 27 points, level with the idle undefeated Hurricanes, ahead of their bye week.


The Force had little answer for a rampaging Blues pack, who took a 28-3 lead at the break.


In hindsight, the Force may have regretted taking a penalty goal just before the half-hour while trailing 14-0 after tries from Ofa Tu'ungafasi and Ricky Riccitelli. Instead of searching for a try in a rare venture into Blues' territory, the visitors settled for three points from first-five Ben Donaldson.


The Blues grabbed the ball from the restart, with second-rower Laghlan McWhannell crossing to make it 21-3 seconds later in a moment that seemed to drain the fight out of the Force.


Blues rugby
The Blues won for the sixth time in seven matches. PHOTO: SUPER RUGBY

If that did not end their chances, silky interplay between brothers Akira and Rieko Ioane that ended with a try for Funaki sent the Blues into the break up 28-3 surely did.


The Blues' scrum forced penalties at will and produced the match's first try for All Blacks prop Tu'ungafasi, with hooker Riccitelli crossing off the back of a rolling maul to make it 14-0.


No 8 Hoskins Sotutu powered over in the 43rd minute to dismiss any notion of a comeback, before Funaki got his second and centre Corey Evans picked up a loose pass from the Force to go over untouched, putting the Blues up 45-3 after 55 minutes..


Soft defending was a theme throughout, with the Force missing 28 tackles compared to the Blues' six.


The Blues and Western Force both a bye in Round 8, with the Blues playing the ACT Brumbies in their next match on April 20.


Blues 50 (Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Ricky Riccitelli, Laghlan McWhannell, Taufa Funaki 2, Hoskins Sotutu, Corey Evans, AJ Lam tries; Harry Plummer 5 con) Western Force 3 (Ben Donaldson pen). HT: 28-3

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