Super Rugby Aotearoa has just gone to another level altogether! The Blues lead for most of their game against the Chiefs and managed to hold on to win 21-17. The Blues secured their second place on the log and are just two points behind log leaders the Crusaders but more heartbreak for the Chiefs who remain winless in a 17-21 loss.
The Blues had a perfect start to this game, it took them only five minutes to score first try. Seven minutes later the Blues added their second try to lead 14-0. At this stage the Blues were in total control, however, the Chiefs hit back after 20 minutes to trail 14-7 with 20 minutes left on the clock.
The second quarter belonged to the Chiefs but they could not convert the many opportunities into points. A half of two halves with the Blues in the lead with 14-7 with the Chiefs ready to cause the second upset of the weekend on the back of the ill-discipline of the Blues. Plenty of action in the first half at Eden Park in what has been a high-quality contest!
A brilliant start by the Chiefs as they scored in the corner after 5 minutes in the second half. This made it all even (14-14) with thirty-five minutes to go. Minutes later after the Blues' ninth penalty, the Chiefs took the lead with 17-14 after the penalty was converted. The Blues answered almost immediately and retook the lead with a converted try with five minutes to go in the third quarter. A ding dong battle not only on the scoreboard at this stage with the Blues in the lead with 21-17 and twenty minutes to go.
The Blues clawed their way back into the game in the last quarter but ill-discipline continued to cost them much needed momentum. A penalty with five minutes to go gave the Chiefs a final opportunity to score a winning try from a five-meter lineout. A penalty on their try-line gave the Blues the opportunity to stop the advance of the Chiefs and secure a win with 21-17.
That second half had just about everything. The Chiefs dominated the first twenty minutes but the match turned into a desperate arm wrestle in the last twenty, with the Blues just managing to hang on for a win.
The Chiefs will face a hurting Crusaders next weekend while the Blues will face the Highlanders.
Blues: Tries: Matt Duffie, Patrick Tuipulotu, Finlay Christie. Conversions: Beauden Barrett (3).
Chiefs: Tries: Lachlan Boshier, Solomon Alaimalo. Conversions: Damian McKenzie (2). Penalty: Damian McKenzie
Chiefs: 1. Reuben O’Neill, 2. Bradley Slater, 3. Nepo Laulala, 4. Tupou Vaa’i, 5. Mitchell Brown, 6. Lachlan Boshier, 7. Sam Cane (C), 8. Pita Gus Sowakula, 9. Brad Weber, 10. Kaleb Trask, 11. Solomon Alaimalo, 12. Alex Nankivell, 13. Anton Lienert-Brown, 14. Sean Wainui, 15. Damian McKenzie. Replacements: 16. Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17. Ollie Norris, 18. Ross Geldenhuys, 19. Adam Thomson, 20. Mitchell Karpik, 21. Lisati Milo-Harris, 22. Aaron Cruden, 23. Quinn Tupaea.
Blues: 1. Alex Hodgman, 2. Kurt Eklund, 3. Of Tuungafasi, 4. Patrick Tuipulotu, 5. Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 6. Blake Gibson, 7. Dalton Papalii, 8. Akira Ioane, 9. Finlay Christie, 10. Beauden Barrett, 11. Caleb Clarke, 12. TJ Faiane, 13.Rieko Ioane, 14. Mark Telea, 15. Matt Duffie. Replacements: 16. Luteru Tolai, 17. Karl Tu'inukuafe, 18. Sione Mafileo, 19. Josh Goodhue, 20. Tony Lamborn, 21. Sam Nock, 22. Otere Black/Emoni Narawa, 23. Harry Plummer.