The NSW Waratahs have set an unwanted piece of history by starting a Super Rugby season with successive losses for the first time, after crashing 32-12 to the Blues in Newcastle on Saturday.
The Blues scored five tries to two in front of 7491 hardy spectators at a wet McDonald Jones Stadium, with winger Mark Telea notching a second-half hat-trick for the visitors, who notched a fifth straight win over the Waratahs.
Despite the wet weather conditions in Newcastle, today’s attendance of 7491 is officially the lowest home crowd for the Waratahs in their 25-year history.
The New Zealand side never trailed and were more clinical in the rainy conditions against a Waratahs side that made some critical errors, especially at the breakdown.
Compounding the Tahs misery exciting winger Mark Nawaqanitawase went off injured just after the hour, when he landed awkwardly after athletically diving over the line to score his second try in as many Super games.
The Blues were down to 14 men in the second half when influential No.8 Hoskins Sotutu was sin-binned for a high tackle on Waratahs centre Karmichael Hunt but had already banked enough points to win.
The Blues, who also first round losers, scored two tries in the first four minutes of the second half to take control after leading just 8-7 at the break.
A try to flanker Blake Gibson and a penalty to five-eighth Stephen Perofeta set up an 8-0 lead for the Blues but the Waratahs trimmed the deficit on the stroke of halftime when centre Lalakai Foketi smashed his way over.
The Waratahs momentum disappeared almost immediately after the break, with the Blues bolting to a 20-7 lead.
Joe Marchant crossed after good work from centre partner TJ Faiane and two minutes later Telea was first to a well-judged stab kick from Sotutu.
The Waratahs woes increased in the 49th minute when captain Rob Simmons opted for a scrum close to the Blues line after the home team were awarded a penalty.
The Blues pack then drove right through their opponents in a demoralising moment for the home team
Nawaqanitawase’s try offered the Tahs a sliver of hope, but they lacked the composure to threaten the Blues before Telea crossed twice in the last three minutes to earn his side a bonus point.