Finlay Christie scored an early strive in every half because the Auckland Blues beat the Otago Highlanders 32-21 of their Tremendous Rugby Aotearoa conflict in Dunedin on Sunday to maintain the race for the home title nonetheless alive.
The Blues’ victory moved them to 22 factors, two behind the table-topping Canterbury Crusaders.
Leon Macdonald’s aspect, nevertheless, have only one fixture remaining – the ultimate match of the home competitors which is towards the Crusaders on Aug. 16 at Eden Park.
The Crusaders host the Highlanders subsequent Sunday.
The Blues had not received in Dunedin since 2011 and so they raced to an early 12-Zero lead with tries to quantity eight Akira Ioane and scrumhalf Christie.
The Highlanders, nevertheless, responded with a Josh Ioane penalty and co-captain Ash Dixon’s attempt to get again to 12-10 earlier than an argument that might have overshadowed the sport.
With the Highlanders on assault, Blues’ flanker Dalton Papalii made an intercept of a unfastened go and ran 60 metres for a strive.
Referee Mike Fraser, nevertheless, reviewed the second earlier than the intercept and overturned the attempt to penalised the Blues’ prop Karl Tu’inukuafe for being offside.
Josh Ioane slotted the penalty to provide his aspect a 13-12 lead that lasted lower than 90 seconds when the Blues’ TJ Faiane scored straight after the restart to make it 17-13.
Whereas the Highlanders flyhalf Ioane slotted one other penalty within the 36th minute, Blues prop Ofa Tuungafasi continued his career-defining season with a strive from an attacking lineout to provide the guests a 24-16 lead on the break.
Christie added his second strive simply three minutes into the second half earlier than Beauden Barrett kicked a penalty to provide the guests a 32-16 lead.
The Highlanders then spent a lot of the rest of the match on assault however solely had a Shannon Frizell strive with 4 minutes remaining to point out for it.