The Chiefs have already qualified for the final of Super Rugby Aotearoa where they will play the Crusaders in Christchurch, next weekend.
The Blues have disappointed in recent weeks with a few indifferent results costing them, what looked like, a certain place in the final of Super Rugby; instead, the Chiefs pipped the Auckland team with some fine form in the last few weeks.
- The Blues have won three of their last five Super Rugby games against the Chiefs (L2) after having been winless in their 15 meetings prior (D1, L14).
- The Chiefs have won their last five Super Rugby games on the bounce, each by a margin of fewer than seven points on the day; the last time they won more in succession was a seven-game streak from March to April in 2016.
- The Blues have scored six tries this Super Rugby Aotearoa season after having won a turnover, twice as many as any other team in the competition and three times as many as the Chiefs (2).
- Dalton Papali’i (Blues) has hit 65 defensive rucks in the 2021 Super Rugby Aotearoa season, 20 more than any other player in the competition.
- Damian McKenzie (Chiefs) has made 12 break passes so far this Super Rugby Aotearoa season, three more than any other player in the competition.
We are waiting for the kick-off.
In the meantime, why not have a look at the match preview.
1.00: PEEEEP! We are underway at Eden Park, Auckland, for the last game of the round-robin stage of Super Rugby Aotearoa.
3.00: A couple of reset scrums to start the game. The Chiefs win a penalty after Rieko Ioane’s high tackle on Sean Wainui. Wainui opts for a shot at goal.
5.00: PENALTY! Bryn Gatland opens the scoring from in front. 0-3
7.00: MISS! Zarn Sullivan’s long-range penalty drops under the crossbar. 0-3
10.00: Held-up! The Blues go 13 phases; however, when they crash over the line, the Chiefs managed to hold the home team up over the line.
11.00: Pita Gus Sowakula goes close to scoring after a turnover by the Chiefs, which was poor by the Blues, who allowed the opposition to roam freely down the sideline.
14.00: Zarn Sullivan’s grubber is charged down by Sean Wainui, who toes the ball to the Blues half. Sullivan manages to get back to clean up before Bryn Gatland hits Finlay Christie high in the next phase. Black also got hit with a huge hit by Zane Kapeli, but the tackle was clean.
16.00: The Blues lose their own attacking lineout when Hoskins Sotutu knocked on inside the Chiefs’ 22.
18.00: TRY! Hooker Kurt Eklund goes Route One from crash-ball at the ruck – about 25 metres out – bursting through lock Samipeni Finau and loosehead prop Ollie Norris, racing away to score. 5-3
19.00: CONVERSION! Otere Black adds the extras. 7-3
21.00: NO TRY! Bailyn Sullivan breaks into the Blues’ 22, slipping Zarn Sullivan and Bryce Heem’s tackle; however, the try is chalked off for a double movement by Bailyn Sullivan. The fullback looked to knock on after his brother made the try-saving tackle. 7-3
23.00: PENALTY! Gatland reduces the gap to one point from in front. 7-6
25.00: Black kicks a penalty to the corner of the opposition’s 22 after a high tackle by Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi.
26.00: TRY! Adrian Choat, who had a couple of strong carries after the driving maul, crashes over next to the posts. Choat leaves the field for a blood-bin after taking a boot to the face when he scored. 12-3
27.00: CONVERSION! Black adds the extras. 14-3
30.00: The Chiefs go close again, but once again, the Blues keep them out. The Blues have a five-metre scrum on their try line.
32.00: Bryn Gatland’s loose pass is intercepted, allowing the Blues to clear through Finlay Christie. Christie, however, strays offside during the next phase of attack – Chiefs kick to the corner.
34.00: The Chiefs pound their way to the try line after the Blues stopped their driving maul. Several Chiefs’ players went close before a wild pass almost kills the attack. Shaun Stevenson regathers the loose ball and begins another set of attacks.
35.00: TMO REVIEW: NO TRY! Norris thinks he’s scored, but we needed to check. Kaleb Trask does not knock on Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi’s wild pass, but Shaun Stevenson picks up the ball in an offside position. The ball did not go forward, though, so how is Stevenson offside? Gatland isn’t happy; however, the Chiefs had a couple of penalty advantages.
36.00: Wait, no advantage to the visitors after all that. Gatland is not happy – what are these officials doing?
38.00: These referrals just make things more complicated. It’s now the Chiefs’ turn to botch an attacking lineout.
40.00: The Chiefs have a lineout on the Blues’ 10m.
41.00: Tom Robinson goes off his feet at the breakdown, it allows Gatland to take an easy shot at goal.
42.00: PENALTY! Gatland makes it three from three. 14-9
The halftime score was Blues 14 Chiefs 9
41.00: PEEEEP! We are back underway in New Zealand.
43.00: The Blues have an attacking scrum on the Chiefs’ try line.
44.00: Black throws a wild pass over Bryce Heem’s head, and into touch.
48.00: The chiefs have the lineout on the opposition’s 10m. They win another penalty advantage after another tackler does not roll away at the breakdown. Gatland calls for the tee.
49.00: PENALTY! Gatland adds his fourth goal. 14-12
51.00: Liam Messam returns comes on for the Chiefs for the first time since 2018.
53.00: TRY! The Blues finish off a sublime counter-attack from deep inside their half. Sotutu had a big role in the try before the hosts entered the 22. The ball got recycled quickly to Black, who combined with Rieko Ioane to sent Zarn Sullivan away for his first Super Rugby try. 19-12
54.00: MISS! Black cannot convert. 19-12
57.00: Black is pinged for offside. Lots of players starting to need attention from the medics – this game is brutal and intense!
60.00: TRY! Stevenson finishes off a sublime counter-attack by the visitors. Tom Florence won the turnover after Sam Nock got isolated to set up the score. 19-17
62.00: CONVERSION! Gatland levels. 19-19
65.00: Blues go close, but they will take a shot at goal.
66.00: PENALTY! Black slots the kick, Blues back in front. 22-19
70.00: The Blues go close again, win another penalty, although this time, the Blues want the scrum.
71.00: Ioane is over the line, but several penalties leave the ref talking to Liam Messam about ill-discipline. Another scrum for the Blues.
74.00: TRY! Hoskins Sotutu scores from the back of another strong scrum. Three players could not stop the number eight. 27-19
75.00: CONVERSION! Black adds the extras. 29-19
78.00: TRY! AJ Lam is in for a walk-in try. Game over! 34-19
79.00: MISS! The kick is wide. 34-19
83.00: TRY! Lam has a double after the hooter. 39-19
84.00: MISS! Plummer’s kick is wide. 39-19
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The final score is Blues 39 (14) Chiefs 19 (9)
Tries – Eklund, Choat, Z. Sullivan, Sotutu, Lam (2)
Pen – Black
Con – Black (3)
Tries – Stevenson
Pen – Gatland (4)
Con – Gatland
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 1: James Doleman
Assistant Ref 2: Paul Williams
TMO: Brendon Pickerill
15 Zarn Sullivan, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Rieko Ioane (co-captain), 12 Tanielu Tele’a, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Otere Black, 9 Finlay Christie, 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Adrian Choat, 6 Tom Robinson (co-captain), 5 Sam Darry, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Kurt Eklund, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe
Replacements: 16 Soane Vikena, 17 Ofa Tuungafasi, 18 Marcel Renata, 19 Josh Goodhue, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Harry Plummer, 23 AJ Lam
15 Kaleb Trask, 14 Bailyn Sullivan, 13 Sean Wainui (captain), 12 Rameka Poihipi, 11 Shaun Stevenson, 10 Bryn Gatland, 9 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 8 Pita Gus Sowakula, 7 Zane Kapeli, 6 Viliami Taulani, 5 Josh Lord, 4 Samipeni Finau, 3 Sione Mafileo, 2 Bradley Slater, 1 Ollie Norris
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Ezekiel Lindenmuth, 18 Joe Apikotoa, 19 Liam Messam, 20 Tom Florence, 21 Xavier Roe, 22 Rivez Reihana, 23 Gideon Wrampling