Blues Too Good as Highlanders Crumble

Jeff CheshireAnalyst IIApril 18, 2009

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 07: Joe Rokocoko of the Blues in action during the round four Super 14 match between the Blues and the Sharks at Eden Park on March 7, 2009 in Auckland, New Zealand.  (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images)

The Blues ran rampant as they put away the Highlanders at Eden Park on Friday night.

The 26-6 scoreline showed the performances of both teams as the Blues ran in four tries and looked dangerous all night, while the Highlanders never looked like breaking the Blues defence and couldn't cross the line once.

It took the Blues only 25 seconds to score their first try as Isaia Toeava crossed in the corner after the Highlanders lost the ball in the first ruck of the game on their own 22.

This set the tempo of the game and from that moment, on the Blues backs ran everything back and the Highlanders defence struggled to contain the slippery backs as they ran in another three tries.

With 20 minutes left on the clock, the Highlanders were starting to look threatening, trailing by 15 points but pressing hard on the Blues line.

It was then that the captain Jimmy Cowan was sent from the field for a late shoulder charge on Blues first-five Jimmy Gopperth. This destroyed any hopes the Highlanders may have had of a comeback and saw the Blues through to a well-earned bonus point win.

This makes it that much harder for the Highlanders to secure that ever elusive top four spot that they haven't been able to claim since 2002. With three tough away games to come, they have a tough task now to make the semi-finals this year.

The Blues however have improved their situation immensely and are now in an ideal spot to claim one of those top four slots. If they continue to play how they did against the Highlanders, it will be hard stopping them.