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14-man Blues beat Stormers

After being immersed in the aftermath of tragedy for two weeks, Sonny Bill Williams came off the bench to create a try which helped seal a 24-9 win by the 14-man Blues over the Stormers in Super Rugby on Saturday.
All Blacks center Williams, who converted to Islam a decade ago, has spent the past two weeks in Christchurch fundraising and consoling members of the city's Islamic community after the March 15 shootings at two mosques which left 50 dead.
He attended the national memorial service in Christchurch on Friday and then, after missing last weekend's match against the Highlanders, came back to take his place again in the Blues team that faced the Cape Town-based Stormers.
Williams took to the field in the second half as a replacement at center for Ma'a Nonu and made an immediate impact on a tight match which had been locked at 10-9 in the Blues' favor for 16 minutes.
He crashed onto a pass in midfield in the 62nd, kept his feet as he broke through two tackles, then handed off to flyhalf Otere Black who scored under the posts and converted the try to give the Blues an eight-point buffer.
Winger Rieko Ioane made the game safer with a late try, his seventh in his last three games.
Blues winger Tanielu Tele'a scored a first-half try but was sent off in the second half for a dangerous tackle.
The Blues held on with 14 men for 11 minutes to post three wins in a row for the first time in four years.
"It was pretty tough," Blues captain Patrick Tuipulotu said. "We knew the challenge we had in front of us with a strong, physical Stormers forward pack and I'm just proud of the way the boys matched that."
The victory put the Blues in the playoff places. The Blues won the first two Super Rugby tournaments in 1996 and 1997 but their last title was in 2003 and they haven't reached the playoffs since 2011.
The Crusaders, the two-time defending champions, are still the overall leaders.


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