Winger Rieko Ioane has become the 18th player to score a record-equalling four tries in a Super Rugby match, taking the Blues to their first win of the season against the Sunwolves in Auckland.
The home side held on for a 28-20 victory on Saturday, as they marked last week’s death of former prop Mike Tamoaieta with his player number 276 stitched onto the front of their jerseys.
The Sunwolves had won their first match away from home last week against the Chiefs and never let the Blues get too far ahead, but were hampered by second-half yellow cards to fullback Semisi Masirewa and replacement hooker Nathan Vella.
The Blues hadn’t scored a try this season until Ioane touched down for his first in the 20th minute. He had a double by halftime when the Blues led 15-13 and bagged two more five-pointers.
The Sunwolves were strongly competitive and scored through Uwe Helu to cut the lead to five points.
A late penalty to Otere Black sealed the Blues’ win.
Flyhalf Rikiya Matsuda scored a try, slotted two penalties and converted both his own and replacement lock Uwe Helu’s second half try for the Japanese outfit at North Harbour Stadium.