Super Rugby

Blues scalp Chiefs and end Hamilton hoodoo

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The Blues beat the Chiefs 12-24 to make it two wins from two in Super Rugby Aotearoa at a cold and wet Waikato Stadium, Hamilton.

Hamilton has not been a happy hunting ground for the Blues, who last won in the Waikato region nine years ago in 2011.

Hoskins Sotutu scored and assisted Mark Telea’s late try as the brilliant Blues ended a longstanding hoodoo in Hamilton.

Warren Gatland’s side, on the other hand, could not cross the whitewash, which ultimately made the difference in a tight contest played in cold and wet conditions.

Otere Black and Beauden Barrett’s boots kept the visitors ahead.

Barrett’s late drop-kick and penalty, in quick succession, gave Leon MacDonald’s side breathing space.

Telea’s try sealed the deal for the unbeaten Blues, played in front of just under 24,000 fans, the largest crowd in Hamilton since 2006.

Damian McKenzie’s boot kept his team in the game.

The fullback kicked four penalties, but his team’s lack of creativity proved costly as the Chiefs stay winless in Super Rugby Aotearoa.

The Chiefs dominated the early stages of the game.

They had all the territory and possession, turning down a shot at goal before McKenzie opened the scoring with a 12th-minute penalty.

The Blues struck immediately after the restart.

Barratt’s pin-point banana-kick from a penalty put the hosts in a prime position to launch their first attack from inside the opposition’s 22.

Several pick-and-drives later, Hoskins Sotutu crashed over next to the posts. Black added the extras.

The Blues fell foul of the referee, conceding eight penalties to one of the home team by the 24th-minute.

By the interval, the Blues had conceded 11 penalties to three, but the turnover count was 10-3 in their favour.

Super Rugby Aotearoa Video Highlights, Round 2: Chiefs versus Blues, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton

The Chiefs’ handling errors were hurting them, the count 7-2 against the hosts, but they could count on the Blues’ ill-discipline to keep them in touching distance.

Earlier, McKenzie doubled his side’s score with another penalty from in front after Ofa Tuungafasi entered the ruck at the side.

The Chiefs could not make their pressure count, turning down another shot at goal before losing the five-metre lineout.

Gatland’s men continued to dominate, but turnovers kept hurting his side. A big scrum resulted in a penalty just inside the Chiefs’ half.

Skipper Brad Webber decided for the shot at goal, but McKenzie’s long-range effort drifted wide.

Black, who kicked at 100 per cent in the first round of super Rugby Aotearoa, pushed a penalty of his own just wide of the posts from in front.

Despite not having many clear-cut opportunities, no ball, and on the wrong side of the referee’s whistle, the Blues found a way to extend their lead.

A botched Chiefs scrum led to an attacking scrum on the home team’s 22, and subsequently, a clickable penalty.

Black could not miss.

On the stroke of half-time, Dalton Papalii received his marching orders for another ruck infringement.

McKenzie made no mistake from in front, making it a one-point ball-game at the break.

A stodgy second half descended into a battle of the boots.

The conditions deteriorated, and the message from both coaches seemed to be for their teams to play in the opposition’s half.

‘Gary Owens’ was the order of the day as each team looked for the territory to mount attacks. The penalties continued to mount.

Papalii’s yellow card did not cost his team any points. The handling errors mounted, as did the penalties.

With chances few and far between, any opportunity for points was taken. Black and McKenzie continued to trade penalties.

A side-entry penalty led to Black kicking a 53rd-minute penalty to re-open a four-point gap with a long-range effort.

Tuungafasi fell foul of Ben O’Keeffe’s whistle for not rolling away “east to west”, and McKenzie, from 41 metres out and in front, banged over his fourth goal.

The Blues started to find some rhythm as the game entered the final quarter. Penalties mounted against the hosts.

A sustained period of attack resulted in Barrett slotting a 64th-minute drop-kick after an 11-phase attack took the Blues inside the Chiefs’ 22.

What was once a rarity in New Zealand rugby, the drop-goal is back with a bang.

Mr O’Keeffe had a word with the Chiefs because their penalty-count began to rise. With less than 12 minutes to play, Barrett extended the Blues’ lead to seven.

The Chiefs looked weary, their heads dropped as the Blues started to raise their game.

Telea ended the game as a contest, two minutes later, with a superb finish in the right-hand corner after some slick handling by both backs and forwards.

Barrett was involved at first-receiver before try-scorer Sotutu’s long, skip pass found the winger.

The conversion went wide, but it did not matter.

The Chiefs did mount a last stand, but a 16-phase attack came to nought.

More to follow…

Final Score: Chiefs 12 (9) Blues 24 (10)

Scorers

Chiefs
Tries –
Pen – McKenzie (4)
Con –
Drop –
Cards –

Blues
Tries – Sotutu, Talea
Pen – Black (2), B. Barrett
Con – Black
Drop – B. Barrett
Cards – Papalii (Yellow, 41′)

Match Officials
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant Ref 1: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 2: Paul Williams
TMO: James Doleman

Teams

Chiefs

15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Quinn Tupaea, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Sean Wainui, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Brad Weber (captain), 8 Pita Gus Sowakula, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 6 Luke Jacobson, 5 Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 4 Tupou Vaa’i, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 1 Aidan Ross

Replacements: 16 Bradley Slater, 17 Reuben O’Neill, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Adam Thomson, 20 Dylan Nel, 21 Lisati Milo-Harris, 22 Kaleb Trask, 23 Solomon Alaimalo

Blues

15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Mark Telea, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Thomas Faiane (captain), 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Otere Black, 9 Sam Nock; 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Josh Goodhue, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu (captain), 3 Ofa Tuungafasi, 2 James Parsons, 1 Alex Hodgman

Replacements: 16 Kurt Eklund, 17 Marcel Renata, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 20 Tony Lamborn, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Harry Plummer, 23 Matt Duffie

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  1. Pingback: Blues beat Chiefs in Auckland - Super Rugby | Super 15 Rugby and Rugby Championship News,Results and Fixtures from Super XV Rugby

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