Joe Rokocoko scored a hat-trick as the 2003 Blues secured a victory over the 2017 Crusaders in Game 15 of the Greatest Super Rugby Team tournament.
SA Rugby magazine readers dived into Game 15 of the 32-team knockout tournament, with the home side claiming the victory after 70% of voters backed them to win by between six and 10 points at Eden Park.
The result eliminates the 2017 Crusaders from the tournament, while the 2003 Blues advance to the round of 16, where they will face the winner of Game 16.
In a tightly contested match, the Blues went into the break 14-10 ahead thanks to Rokocoko’s first try and a score from flank Daniel Braid, who buried his way over the tryline from close range.
The Crusaders fired back towards the end of the half, with Jack Goodhue finishing off a midfield break and Richie Mo’unga adding a conversion and penalty.
It was the Crusaders who continued their momentum in the second half, taking the lead when Israel Dagg scored a converted try, before Codie Taylor scored a maul try in the corner, but Mo’unga skewed that conversion attempt.
That gave the Blues a second wind and Rokocoko cross again and then, in the final five minutes, added a third with an acrobatic finish in the corner. Carlos Spencer had a perfect day off the kicking tee, adding four conversions as the Blues claimed a 28-22 victory.
2003 Blues – Tries: Joe Rokocoko (3), Daniel Braid. Conversions: Carlos Spencer (4)
2017 Crusaders – Tries: Jack Goodhue, Israel Dagg, Codie Taylor. Conversions: Richie Mo’unga (2). Penalty: Mo’unga.
2003 Blues – 15 Doug Howlett, 14 Rico Gear, 13 Mils Muliaina, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Joe Rokocoko, 10 Carlos Spencer, 9 David Gibson, 8 Xavier Rush, 7 Daniel Braid, 6 Justin Collins, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Angus Macdonald, 3 Kees Meeuws, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Deacon Manu.
Subs: 16 Lee Stensness, 17 Orene Ai’i, 18 Craig McGrath, 19 Mose Tuiaili’i, 20 Brad Mika, 21 Tony Woodcock, 22 Derren Witcombe.
2017 Crusaders – 15 David Havili, 14 Israel Dagg, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Seta Tamanivalu, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock (c), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Subs: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Michael Ala’alatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 George Bridge.