Blues run rampant over Highlanders in Super Rugby

The highly rated Auckland-based Blues have produced a Super Rugby Pacific statement performance to start their 2023 campaign with a record 60-20 win at the home of the Dunedin-based Highlanders.

The powerful running of winger Mark Telea was a high point in a fast-paced match at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

But head coach Leon MacDonald, who recently was linked to the Scotland national team, will be concerned with the Blues' discipline.

They played the last 10 minutes of the first half and the first 10 minutes of the second half with 14 men after yellow cards and conceded too many penalties, especially near their line.

The Blues lost last year's Super Rugby final to the Crusaders 21-7.

"I don't want to bring up last year but we're probably playing with a bit of fire in the belly from the disappointment last year," Blues captain Dalton Papali'i said.

The Blues started strongly with tries to Telea, Beauden Barrett, Caleb Clark and Rieko Ioane to lead 31-6 after 28 minutes.

The Highlanders had a small resurgence before halftime and cut the lead to 31-20 at the break.

A try to Marcel Renata kick-started the Blues second-half scoring and with second tries to Ioane and Telea and another to Papali'i they walked away with the match.

- with AP