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Bumbling Blues reach rock bottom

By David Agnew

Published: 12:26AM Friday April 06, 2012 Source: ONE Sport

A 34-23 loss to the Melbourne Rebels has shunted the Blues to the bottom of the Super Rugby table at AAMI Park tonight.

James O'Connor's 24 points including his 67th minute converted try put the opposition to the sword who will also be expecting the knives to be out when they arrive home.

The loss has extended the worst start to a Super Rugby season in the Blues' history with one win from six to date and a very early death knell for the playoffs.

The visitors clearly had attack on their mind as they attempted to counter attack from the match's first kick off, trying to run themselves into some form.

The 2nd minute penalty to O'Connor didn't deter the Blues as they made progress with their bold plan.

After an equalling score from the recalled Gareth Anscombe, a promising motion upfield led to some close calls near the Rebels tryline until one skip pass too many found Kurtley Beale in the clear for 90 metres.

Neither team could find any rhythm, with sloppy passing and lack of depth on attack stalling any momentum and the match was living up to it's billing for the two bottom teams.

Bryce Lawrence allowed some points in the half, calling three penalties from the scrum setting up a 11-9 lead at the break to the hosts who looked content to hold the attackers at bay, waiting for the inevitable errors.

Blues captain Keven Mealamu's return was short lived, replaced at half time and his two metre askew line out throw was a reflection on his team who were making the basics look impossibly hard.

Straight after the break, Rudi Wulf's juggling try from a Rene Ranger mini break down a short blindside gave the visitors a much needed boost with the game in the balance but it was the home side that showed the composure and the skill to close the match down.

O'Connor's canter in from his hooker's Ged Robinson's break put a crucial nail in the Blues' coffin after a sustained period of Rebels attack netted two penalties in gift positions.

The night was summarised perfectly as Liaki Moli inexplicably dropped the ball from a five metre quick tap after Chris Lowery had given his side a sniff closing it to a four point gap.

Victorous Captain Gareth Delve's 80th minute finale was just reward for the better team who showed the aptitude in the final quarter to shut out a misfiring opposite.

The Rebel's after their second consecutive win at home cross borders to Canberra to take on the Brumbies as the Blues travel home to salvage their season against the Sharks.

Blues 23 (R. Wulf try, C.Lowery try; G.Anscombe 2 cons; 3 pens)
Rebels 34 (K.Beale try, J.O'Connor try, G.Delve try; O'Connor 2 cons; 5 pens)
HT: 11-9