Cipriani suffers mixed fortunes as Rebels are tamed again

Auckland Blues 40 Melbourne Rebels 23

Danny Cipriani endured another chastening experience in the Super 15 yesterday as his defensive frailties were again exposed, this time by Auckland Blues.

The England No 10 kept his Melbourne Rebels side in touch with the hosts through his kicking for much of the game but he also made key mistakes to ease the Blues' route to victory.

For all Cipriani's problems, it was the centre Jared Payne who scored a 75th-minute try to ensure the Blues cemented victory at North Harbour Stadium in Albany, New Zealand. Earlier, the Blues had rushed out to a 17-3 lead midway through the first half and were running rampant before letting the Rebels back into the game with a string of errors.

Payne's try only really sealed victory after the Rebels had hung in through Cipriani's boot. Rene Ranger grabbed two tries, while fellow winger Joe Rokocoko, centre Benson Stanley and open-side flanker Luke Braid all scored tries.

Fly-half Stephen Brett added two penalties and a conversion for the home side, while Luke McAlister converted Braid's late try.

The Rebels stayed in the game by feeding off Auckland mistakes, with tries to the wingers Cooper Vuna and Lachlan Turner and Cipriani slotting home two conversions and three penalties.

Cipriani, whose defensive weaknesses have been exposed in recent weeks, made crucial errors in the first half that led to two of the Blues' tries but kept his side within striking distance at half-time at 23-17 down.

Cipriani, however, then gifted Stanley the opening try of the second half when the Blues inside centre tackled Cipriani, stripped the ball, fended off Richard Kingi and Gareth Delve to score.

The Blues again failed to finish the game off, with Cipriani slotting two more penalties to give the visitors a chance of victory. Payne and Braid's late tries for the Blues may have exaggerated the scoreline, but the Blues captain, Keven Mealamu, said that they had almost been victims of their own downfall.

"Our execution wasn't sharp enough and ... we made mistakes, little errors, and in a game like this you need to build pressure," Mealamu said. "But those little errors when you turn the ball over to them, they were a team that really wanted to play today."

Auckland Blues: Tries: Ranger (2), Rokocoko, Stanley, Payne, Braid; Conversions: Brett, McAlister; Penalties Brett (2).

Melbourne Rebels: Tries: Vuna, Mitchell; Conversions: Cipriani (2); Penalties Cipriani (3).

Auckland Blues: Toeava; Rokocoko, Payne, Stanley, Ranger; Brett, Mathewson; Saili, Braid, Kaino, Williams, Boric, Afoa, Mealamu (c), Woodcock.

Melbourne Rebels: Kingi; Mitchell, Huxley, Mortlock, Vuna; Cipriani, Phipps; Blake, Robinson, Somerville, Campbell, Pyle, Saffy, Lipman, Delve.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn