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Blues give Rebels Super Rugby lesson

Melbourne Rebels have been given an attacking lesson by the Super Rugby Pacific leading Blues, who delivered a 71-28 thrashing in Auckland.

The Blues ran in 11 tries at Eden Park on Friday night and finished just shy of their franchise record of 74 points, set back in 1998.

The hosts scored seven tries in the first half alone to an unassailable 47-14 lead, with All Blacks back-rower Akira Ioane terrorising the Rebels to bag a double.

And they did it all without star All Blacks playmaker Beauden Barrett, who was rested, with youngster Stephen Perofeta at 10.

While the Blues went into the match on top of the ladder with just one loss, the Rebels were in eighth place with a hopeful eye on the finals.

But that appears dead in the water with the scoreline putting a major dent in their points differential.

Melbourne’s stand-in skipper Matt Philip was shattered.

In their last visit to Auckland in 2018 they left with a 20-10 victory.

“We came out with a lot of energy and I was proud of that but we weren’t good enough,” Philip told Stan Sport.

“I’m really disappointed because we were starting to build a lot of momentum in our season and I feel like we let a bit of that go tonight.”

Melbourne couldn’t have got off to a better start, with prop Pone Fa’amausili barging over for a second-minute try after a Blues lineout went awry.

And they made it 14-0 by the fifth minute when a pass by Blues halfback Finlay Christie after another lineout was intercepted by young Rebels lock Josh Canham.

But the rest of the half was one-way traffic as the Blues sent wave after wave of attack at the Rebels, making easy metres over the advantage line.

Ioane scored his two tries within six minutes with the first coming after fellow All Black Hoskins Sotutu sent a long ball out to his flanker.

Christie, lock James Tucker, Sotutu and Ioane’s younger brother Rieko all crossed before Mark Telea capped the stunning half.

The winger pulled off a spectacular dive to plant the ball in the corner, with superboot Perofeta missing just one conversion in the half.

The Rebels lost Wallabies winger Andrew Kellaway early in the half but it was unclear if it was due to injury.

Centre Rieko Ioane matched his brother with his second try in the 51st minute and then went one better, completing his hat-trick in the 63rd minute for a 66-14 scoreline.

Melbourne crossed for two consolation tries through flanker Brad Wilkin and fullback Reece Hodge but it was still a game they’d rather forget.

The Blues only beat the Western Force by four points last round with skipper Dalton Papalii saying they were looking for a strong response.

“When we were in Aussie that wasn’t a performance that we wanted,” he said.

“We came back here and got the job done but we’ve still got a lot to learn – we can’t start games like that so we’ve got to keep working to get better.”

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