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Match Report: Blues Beat Chiefs in Hamilton



The Blues End Nine Year Wait for Win in Waikato

In rainy conditions, the Blues of Auckland visited their North Island rivals as they looked to beat Warren Gatland’s Chiefs. The home side, on the other hand, were hoping to defend their fortress in front of almost 24,000 fans, as well as win their first game of the Super Rugby Aotearoa season.

Weather played its part as the Blues beat the Chiefs


First Half

The game started with some quickfire changes of possession before the Blues were penalised for going off their feet. Aaron Cruden’s kick was then turned over in coffin corner and the Chiefs’ early discipline nearly paid dividends. Unfortunately for Chiefs fans, the home side then wasted their position with a crossfield kick that was intercepted. Before long, Damian McKenzie converted a penalty to put the chiefs 3-0 up with the first points of the game.

Their lead did not last long, however, because they conceded a penalty a few minutes later. Beauden Barrett put a brilliant kick into the corner and from the line-out the Blues worked under the posts. Hoskins Sotutu, who was a standout performer last week, barged over from close range. Otere Black then converted the big number 8’s try and they were five points up.

Penalties came thick and fast for the Chiefs after the restart. McKenzie converted another and narrowly missed a monster kick from his own half with the score at 6-7. Even as the Chiefs dominated possession, with almost 60%, they could not break the Blue wall. Black punished them for their wastefulness by scoring a penalty, before the Chiefs had the last say of the half. Dalton Papalii was yellow carded as the Blues’ penalty count became intolerable for referee Ben O’Keeffe. McKenzie’s third penalty brought his team to within one point.


Second Half

With Papalii still in the bin, the second half began tentatively. Each team tested the opposition back three with a barrage of kicks as they looked to make the most of the wet weather. The Blues began to gain a foothold as Beauden Barrett’s kicking game showed why he is one of the best in the world. The Chiefs found themselves four points adrift following a Black penalty, their discipline started to cost them.

Despite the Blues’ control of the ball, the Chiefs managed to get themselves back within one point, thanks again to the boot of McKenzie. This was as close as the Waikato outfit got to winning the game. A fantastic final quarter from the Blues saw Barrett score a drop goal and his side began to up the pace. The Chiefs failed to deal with the speed of the Blues’ ball and eventually found themselves giving away penalties like their opposition had in the first half.

As the game opened up, a fantastic break by Caleb Clarke brought the Blues into the Chiefs 22. Captain, Patrick Tuipulotu, who had been brilliant all night, then went on a charging run that created space out wide. They quickly recycled and Sotutu was on hand to flash a magnificent pass to Mark Telea who finished out wide.

With the game out of their reach, the Chiefs galvanised in an attempt to get a losing bonus point. The home side’s wastefulness prevented them from getting anything from the game, which was disappointing for the Hamilton crowd. Ultimately, though, the Blues beat the Chiefs 24-12 and go into next week’s fixtures top of the table, regardless of the result in Wellington.


We hope you enjoyed the article ‘Match Report: Blues Beat Chiefs in Hamilton’. Can the Blues finally conquer Super Rugby or will it be someone else? Let us know!


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Eddie is currently studying for his BA in French at Bristol University. He has played rugby since a young age, playing a variety of positions in the back line. His passionate interest in sport, especially rugby, has encouraged him to transfer it to journalism, working with his university paper, Epigram, in addition to his role with Sporting Ferret.


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