Super Rugby 2019: Blues winger Tanielu Tele'a feared worst after red card against Stormers

Young Blues winger Tanielu Tele'a feared the worst, when he was red-carded late in his side's 24-9 win against the Stormers in Auckland.

With 10 minutes remaining and the Blues holding a 17-9 lead, Tele'a was sent off for taking out opposite winger Dillyn Leyds in the air.

While it wasn't intentional, Tele'a was forced to watch from the sidelines, while the Blues finished the match with 14 men.

Earlier, Tele'a scored the game's opening try with an impressive run down the right wing.

Despite playing a man down, the Blues hung on to secure a bonus-point win, with winger Rieko Ioane crossing for his seventh try in the last three matches.

"I was relieved [when Ioane scored], I thought I'd let the boys down," he said. "To go off was tough, but I had faith the boys would get the job done. 

"I had my eyes on the ball the entire time and it was unintentional. I apologised right away, but that's rugby."

Tanielu Tele'a is given a red card.
Tanielu Tele'a is given a red card. Photo credit: Photosport

The win was the Blues' third in a row, while the result sees them leapfrog the Highlanders into third place in the New Zealand conference and into a playoffs spot in overall standings.

Blues coach Leon MacDonald agreed that the red card was the right decision.

"We weren't anticipating a happy last 10 minutes with a man down and you could see the onslaught coming," said MacDonald.

"To turn that around and score, and take it out of reach was pleasing. Even the way we kept them out right at the very end there, we could have conceded a try quite easy.

"It showed it mattered and we didn't let them in.

"He did get in a bad position. He was too deep and trying to make up ground. It's hard to sprint full noise and stop dead.

"It's a tricky one for poor Tanielu, who has been playing some outstanding rugby. Hopefully, it doesn't dent his confidence.

"It wasn't intentional, just one of those unfortunate things, but we've got to take care of the guy in the air."

The Blues are back in action against the Waratahs in Auckland next week and MacDonald knows they must improve, if they are to continue their win streak.

"We didn't get everything right. There were a few areas they changed the pictures a little bit with the way they attacked and really stretched us across the park, and we had a little bit of trouble at lineout.

"There were a few tired and sore bodies today, but we can be proud to get home with that win and the bonus point as well."


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