Wynne Gray on sport

Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Wynne Gray: Versatile Munro kicking champion

Luke McAlister of the Blues. Photo / GEtty Images
Luke McAlister of the Blues. Photo / GEtty Images

Bottom line: the Blues won. They may need to go back to Eden Park today to check the scoreboard, to see they are not dreaming.

It was an ugly game but the result will be beautiful to the Blues, who have had scant success since they claimed their last Super rugby title in 2003.

This was the start of the Blues' knockout tournament, the same sort of format that will decide a certain global tournament at the same venue in October.

No prizes for style, no points for glitz and glamour, all the kudos for the result.

The Blues and Waratahs both scored two tries but the cumulative advantage of possession and territory meant the Blues kicked more goals from their opponents' indiscretions.

So the Blues deserve the plaudits, the Waratahs can take the "thanks for coming" cards back through Customs in Sydney.

That's the way it is in finals football, that's the pressure and the judgments that will be delivered.

Lachie Munro was a champion on the left wing for the Blues, a bloke who is not the biggest in the game and is shunted around the backline.

He has been tagged as versatile, a utility, a quality replacement. Injuries have seen him surge into the starting XV where his goalkicking has been outstanding.

Munro has kicked 17 of his 22 attempts since he took on the kicking duties. He continued that marksmanship last night even after taking a cheap shot to the ribs when he scored his try.

There is no letup for the Blues. They face repeat heat next weekend after collecting their wounded squad, travelling overseas and going into battle against a rested foe.

Blues coach Pat Lam felt his side had regained their clout in recent games.

He liked their work against the Crusaders and Highlanders and kept talking about how they had regained their mojo.

They were gritty last night but fell off an embarrassing number of tackles early in the match, suggesting stagefright as well as technical issues.

However, they redressed those dramas and showed the dogged resolve teams need when they are out of sync.

Their first aim had been to make the playoffs. Six teams made that cut from the 15 starters, which is about 40 per cent of the field.

Now the Blues are into the final quartet and looking for more bottom-line treasure.

- NZ Herald

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