The inconsistent Auckland Blues picked up their first bonus point of the Super 14 season Saturday with a 32-15 victory over the Vodacom Stormers.
Fill-in flyhalf Isa Nacewa contributed 17 of the Blues points as the star-studded side moved up one place to 10th to remain in the unflattering bottom half of the table after eight matches.
The Stormers, who slip back one to 11th, could not argue about the result after letting in four tries and failing to cross the Blues line.
They also didn’t help their cause by having two players sin-binned at the same time in the second half, including captain De Wet Barry, although the Blues were unable to fully cash in on their two-man advantage – scoring one try but conceding a penalty.
The Blues were the last team to earn a bonus point and they had to wait until the final movement of the game when replacement back Junior Poluleuligaga crossed for their fourth and final try after the hooter had sounded.
However, it still wasn’t the authoritative performance the Blues would have been seeking in their efforts to save face and reach the top half of the table.
They played in fits and starts, scoring three tries in the final 25 minutes, and kept their tryline clean, conceding only five penalties to Stormers flyhalf Naas Olivier.
The Blues led 13-6 at halftime with Nacewa scoring all their points from a try, a conversion and two penalties while Olivier kicked two penalties for the Stormers.
The Stormers chances of winning slipped when hooker Hanyani Shimange was yellow carded in the 51st minute for a professional foul and Barry followed four minutes later for a late tackle.
Down to 13 men, they instantly conceded a try to Blues hooker and captain Keven Mealamu which saw them trail 6-20 before a further three penalties by Olivier closed the gap to 15-20.
But it was the Blues who had the last say with centre Anthony Tuitavake and Poluleuligaga adding to the try count.