The Blues have played the Chiefs 32 times in Super Rugby since 1996, the Blues have won 11 matches, lost 20 times and drawn once.
The Auckland-based franchise’s 11 wins out of 32 matches gives them a record of winning 34% of their games against the Chiefs regardless of venue.
- The Blues picked up a 23-8 win in their last Super Rugby game against the Chiefs, snapping a 15-game winless run in this fixture (D1, L14); they’ve not had consecutive wins against them since March 2011.
- The Blues have led at half-time in each of their last three home games against the Chiefs; though, they’ve managed just one win in that time (D1, L1).
- The hosts have lost four of their last six season openers in Super Rugby, including their previous two on the bounce; only one of their two wins in that span came against fellow New Zealand opposition.
- The Chiefs were winless away from home in New Zealand derbies last Super Rugby season (D1, L3), and haven’t won such a fixture since June 2018 against the Highlanders.
- The Chiefs have lost their last two season openers in Super Rugby, conceding a total of 75 points across those defeats; they had managed five consecutive wins before that span.
- The Blues have lost only one of their last seven Super Rugby games on home soil (W5, D1), with three of their five wins in that period coming by a single-digit margin.
- The Blues have finished each of their last two Super Rugby games with a goal kicking success rate of 100%, as many times as they had done so in their previous 15 games.
- The Chiefs conceded just two cards (both yellow) last Super Rugby campaign, fewer than any other team; indeed, their 7.9 infringements conceded per game were the second-fewest of any team in the competition.
- Beauden Barrett (Blues) has created 16 tries via kicks in the last decade, five more than any other player; indeed, his overall tally of 60 try assists in that time are the second-most of any player (Aaron Smith – 77).
- Anton Lienert-Brown (Chiefs) made 34 offloads last season, eight more than any other player, including five in Round 9 last season against the Blues, his joint-most ever in a single Super Rugby game.
We are waiting for the kick-off.
Another Super Rugby season is upon us, and not just any season, it is the 25th edition of the southern hemisphere’s premier rugby competition.
1.00: PEEEEP! We are underway at Eden Park.
2.00: The conditions are perfect. Much has been made about the early start of this year’s tournament, but it means we get some summer rugby.
3.00: A little knock-on by the Chiefs at the lineout, gives the Blues a scrum inside the visitor’s half.
4.00: The first scrum goes down and is reset.
5.00: Good defending by Sean Wainui, who tackles Rieko Ioane into touch. A mistake by the Chiefs sees the Blues counter-attack.
6.00: HELD UP! The Blues go 11 phases, but some good defensive work from the visitors keep the hosts out, however, it is a Blues scrum, five metres out and 10 metres from the touchline. Chiefs have already made 30 tackles to two.
8.00: Big defence by the Chiefs; the Blues went eight phases, but Lachlan Boshier gets his hands on the ball and wins the penalty to release the pressure.
9.00: Tom Robinson thieves the Chiefs’ throw, but a knock-on during the counter-attack, kills another good opportunity. The tackle count is now at 47-2.
10.00: Another handling error, this time by Joe Marchant, gives the Chiefs an attacking scrum inside Blues territory.
12.00: The Chiefs botch a backline move, Marchant picks up the loose ball and starts the counter. The ball is lost forward inside the Chiefs’ 22, but Mitch Brown’s high tackle gives the home team a chance at three points.
13.00: MISS! Stephen Perofeta pushes a simple penalty wide of the right-hand post. Nil-Nil.
15.00: TRY! The first try of the season is a beauty. Thomas Faiane’s line-break got the attack going before a basketball pass before Tony Lamborn crosses to score. 5-0
16.00: MISS! Perofeta, to the groans of the home fans, misses the conversion. 5-0
18.00: The Chiefs give away a penalty inside the Blues half and lose a good attacking opportunity.
22.00: Chiefs are inside the Blues’ 22 for the first time in the game, but a poor pass into touch, kills the momentum.
24.00: Chiefs on the attack, but with slow ball.
26.00: Try scorer Lamborn puts in a wonderfully weighted grubber that goes out inside the Chiefs’ 22. Another mistake by the Waikato outfit gives the home team an attacking scrum.
28.00: TRY! Superb backline move sees Jonathan Ruru’s inside ball was taken by Rieko Ioane, who bursts through a huge hole and crashes through two defenders to double his side’s lead. 10-0
28.00: CONVERSION! Perofeta finally lands a kick. 12-0
30.00: It’s all Blues at the moment. The visitors are behind the pace and behind the scoreboard.
33.00: Solomon Alaimalo breaks a tackle and gets the Chiefs some front-foot ball. The referee is playing advantage. A couple of high tackles ends with a Chiefs penalty inside the Blues’ 22.
36.00: The Chiefs get another penalty, this time for collapsing the maul by the Blues; they opt for another lineout.
36.00: TRY! A perfectly executed driving maul ends with Samisoni Taukei’aho flopping over the whitewash to cut the deficit. This was only the second time the Chiefs have been inside the Blues’ 22. 12-5
37.00: MISS! Another missed kick, this time it’s debutant Kaleb Trask who misses. 12-5
39.00: Halftime is approaching, another knock-on kills a decent attack by the Blues.
40.00: The Chiefs botch another attack, which puts themselves on the backfoot. The Blues attack but are short of the line. Scrum Blues.
41.00: TRY! Ioane scores under the posts after running over two defenders. 17-5
42.00: CONVERSION! Perofeta adds the extras.
The halftime score was Blues 19 Chiefs 5
41.00: PEEEEP! Aaron Cruden, on his return to the Chiefs, gets the second half underway. Gatland has made several changes as he looks to get into the match.
44.00: The Chiefs have started the second stanza with some intent, they win a penalty after a side entry at the ruck by Alex Hodgman. Cruden kicks to touch, eight metres out.
46.00: TRY! Taukei’aho has a second after another powerful driving maul. Angus Gardner and TMO Aaron Paterson both agreed that Mitchell Karpik stayed bound and did not interfere with the try. 19-10
47.00: CONVERSION! Cruden adds the extras. Game on. 19-12
49.00: It’s all Chiefs in the second half, attacking like a side that got the hairdryer at halftime.
51.00: TRY! Pita Gus Sowakula crashes over from close range, after Adron went close, to make it a two-point ballgame. 19-17
52.00: CONVERSION! Cruden levels. 19-all
54.00: The Blues attack after winning the lineout, winning a penalty in front of the posts after Brown’s high tackle in the build-up.
55.00: MISS! Perofeta hits the post. 19-all.
58.00: The Blues are ion the attack, a couple of metres out.
59.00: TRY! Karl Tu’inukuafe crashes over next to the posts. 24-19
60.00: CONVERSION! Perofeta can’t miss from there. 26-19
63.00: Penalty to the Blues to release some pressure.
65.00: TRY! Anton Lienert-Brown’s break sets up another try, this time for Aidan Ross, who bursts through the Blue wall to dot down. 26-24
66.00: CONVERSION! Cruden makes it three from three and levels again. 26-all.
67.00: What a humdinger we have at Eden Park; an eight-try thriller so far to open the season.
68.00: TRY! Alaimalo squeezes his finish in the corner after Cruden’s blindside break. A lengthy TMO review for grounding and a forward pass ends with five points being awarded. 26-31
69.00: MISS! Cruden misses for the first time. 26-31
72.00: Penalty to the Chiefs. They decide to go for the knockout blow instead of taking the three.
75.00: DROP-GOAL! Cruden drops back in the pocket and lands the knockout punch. 26-34
77.00: PENALTY! Harry Plummer gives the Blues a sniff with a late penalty. 29-34
79.00: The Chiefs win a penalty at the ruck, and can run down the clock. Cruden will take a long-range effort.
81.00: PENALTY! Cruden’s long-range effort is good, taking away the bonus-point from the Blues. 29-37
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The final score is Blues 29 (19) Chiefs 37 (5)
Tries – Lamborn, R. Ioane (2), Tu’inukuafe
Pen – Plummer
Con – Perofeta (3)
Tries – Taukei’aho (2), Sowakula, Ross, Alaimalo
Pen – Cruden
Con – Cruden (3)
Drop – Cruden
Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant Ref 1: Paul Williams
Assistant Ref 2: Dan Waenga
TMO: Aaron Paterson
15 Matt Duffie, 14 Mark Telea, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Thomas Faiane, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Stephen Perofeta, 9 Jonathan Ruru, 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Tony Lamborn, 6 Dalton Papalii, 5 Tom Robinson, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu (captain), 3 Sione Mafileo, 2 Kurt Eklund, 1 Alex Hodgman.
Replacements: 16 Ray Niuia, 17 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18 Ofa Tuungafasi, 19 Josh Goodhue, 20 Blake Gibson, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Harry Plummer, 23 Emoni Narawa.
15 Shaun Stevenson, 14 Sean Wainui, 13 Quinn Tupaea, 12 Alex Nankivell, 11 Solomon Alaimalo, 10 Kaleb Trask, 9 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 8 Sam Cane (captain), 7 Mitchell Karpik, 6 Lachlan Boshier, 5 Mitchell Brown, 4 Tyler Ardron, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 1 Aidan Ross.
Replacements: 16 Bradley Slater, 17 Atu Moli, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 20 Pita Gus Sowakula, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Aaron Cruden, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown.