The Blues, against all the odds, have won their first game of the season with an incredible comeback over the Lions in Johannesburg this morning, the victory sealed in the final seconds after a frantic finish.
Murphy Taramai's try by the posts with time nearly up on the clock, converted by Stephen Perofeta with the last act of the game, left the visitors jubilant and the Ellis Park crowd watching in disbelief.
This victory will go down as a classic and it came at the end of a difficult week for the Blues, who had started their season with two defeats to the Highlanders and Chiefs, the latter an especially disappointing performance at Eden Park.
They arrived in Johannesburg on Monday night without injured skipper Augustine Pulu after their flight out of Auckland was delayed by 24 hours, but looked relatively fresh despite playing at altitude and they never gave up despite trailing by 21-3 near the end of the first half.
Akira Ioane, named the man of the match, scored a crucial converted try just before halftime to keep his side in it and the Lions looked rattled after halftime, the Blues growing in confidence and never giving the home side time to settle on the ball.
Two tries in six minutes from Rieko Ioane in the final quarter put the Blues to within four points, but their chance at victory took a big blow when prop Dylan Smith went over for the Lions to extend the lead back to 11 points.
But Jimmy Tupou's converted try with five minutes remaining gave them hope again. They survived a massive scare when Jonathon Ruru's clearance on his line was charged down only for Aphiwe Dyantyi to fail to ground the ball and the Blues went on the attack again, Sonny Bill Williams' break putting them hot on attack and replacement loose forward Taramai going over to stun the home side.
"It was a huge effort, we've been building for it for the last three weeks," captain James Parsons said. "It's nice to be on the right end of a match-winning try.
"We've been playing with pride and passion but clearly the execution was better tonight."
There was a lot for Tana Umaga to like about this victory, not least the Blues' determination to stay in the fight and their execution when it counted.
Much of their composure in the final 25 minutes came with the introduction of first-five Stephen Perofeta. Bryn Gatland was good, but Perofeta, playing his first game of the season following a hand injury, was classy and his calmness and ability to create time and space transferred throughout the backline.
The pack did its job superbly too, with Akira Ioane the pick of the forwards. They were never outmuscled, with locks Patrick Tuipulotu, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti and Scott Scrafton all playing their part.
There were a few teething troubles in the new midfield of Rieko Ioane and Sonny Bill Williams, but they came out on top in the end. After a tricky start with several handling errors, Williams played a big part in his team's final try.
An instant classic and one which should be remembered for a long time; the Blues, who moved to ninth place on the table, have their first win over the season, and how.
Blues 38 (Rieko Ioane 2, Akira Ioane, Jimmy Tupou, Murphy Taramai tries; Bryn Gatland pen, con, Stephen Perofeta 4 cons)
Lions 35 (Sylvian Mahuza, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Elton Jantjies, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Dylan Smith tries; Jantjies 5 cons)
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