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Resurgent Chiefs hold on to end Blues winning run

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Hamilton’s Chiefs brought an end to the Blues four match Super rugby winning streak with a 33-29 victory over the Auckland side at FMG stadium.

The Chiefs victory may have come at a cost though as Damien McKenzie was forced from the field in the 41st minute with a knee injury.

The Blues went into the match with wins over the Sunwolves, Highlanders ,Stormers and Waratahs behind them and had been on their longest winning streak since 2011.

The Chiefs made a poor start to the 2019 season with four straight losses but then held on for a draw against the Hurricanes and followed that up with back to back wins over the Bulls and Jaguares on tour.

The Chiefs are now on a three match winning streak which is the joint (with the Crusaders) longest current winning streak in Super rugby.

The Chiefs outscored the Blues by five tries to four. Lachlan Boshier and Ma’a Nonu scored a brace of tries but Nonu’s second for the Blues earned them a losing bonus point.

The Blues made the stronger start to the match dominating possession at 71% but the Chiefs took what little opportunity they had to score after Otere Black opened the scoring with a penalty in the fourth minute.

Chiefs halfback Brad Weber intercepted a Blues pass and raced away to score for the home side alowing Damien McKenzie to add the conversion.

The Chiefs scored again after McKenzie slipped through three tackles and got the Chiefs close to the tryline. Boshier came up in support and crashed over to score. Again McKenzie added the conversion but then missed a penalty shot a few minutes later.

The Blues upped their game as half time approached and worked the ball to the Chiefs tryline. The Blues were relentless on attack and went through 11 phases until the Chiefs ran out of defenders and Melani Nanai slipped over to score in the corner.

Otere Black’s conversion took the half time scores to 14-10 in favour of the Chiefs.

McKenzie was forced from the field early on but his replacement Ataata Moeakiola scored with his first touch of the ball after Anton Lienert-Brown created space and set him up for the try with just a few metres to go.

Marty McKenzie missed his first kick at the posts but was successful with the conversion for Moeakiola’s try.

Over the next 35 minutes every time the Chiefs scored the Blues hit back with tries of their own.

Thirty-six-year-old Ma’a Nonu powered through the Chiefs defensive line to score but then Boshier went over for his second try after Sean Wanui demonstrated some brilliant ball skills. Wanui was passed the ball near the ground but managed to kick it up, catch it and then set up Boshier for the try.

The Blues answered that try by sending Rieko Ioane over in the corner keeping the pressure on the home side. The Chiefs responded with a try from replacement Jesse Parete which was converted by Marty McKenzie.

Just as it seemed the Chiefs had managed to put some space in between themselves and the Blues Nonu crashed over for his second and Harry Plummer added the conversion to close the gap to four points.

The Blues pressed hard in the final minutes but they were unable to add further points and had to settle for the losing bonus point.

Next week the Chiefs host the Lions in Hamilton at the FMG stadium while the Blues travel to Dunedin to play the Highlanders.

Final Score Chiefs 33 (14) Blues 29 (10)

Scorers

Chiefs
Tries – B.Weber, L.Boshier 2, A.Moeakiola, J.Parete
Pen –
Con – D.McKenzie 2, M.McKenzie 2
Drop –
Cards –

Blues
Tries – M.Nanai, M.Nonu 2, R.Ioane
Pen – O.Black
Con – O.Black2, H.Plummer
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant Ref 1:Damon Murphy
Assistant Ref 2:Ben O’Keeffe
TMO :Glenn Newman

Teams

Chiefs

15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Sean Wainui, 13 Tumua Manu, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Solomon Alaimalo, 10 Marty McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Taleni Seu, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 6 Luke Jacobson, 5 Tyler Ardron, 4 Brodie Retallick (c), 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Angus Ta’avao

Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Ryan Coxon, 18 Sosefo Kautai, 19 Jesse Parete, 20 Pita Gus Sowakula, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Alex Nankivell, 23 Ataata Moeakiola

Blues

15 Melani Nanai, 14 Caleb Clarke, 13 TJ Faiane, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Otere Black, 9 Jonathan Ruru, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Tom Robinson, 5 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu (c), 3 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 2 James Parsons, 1 Ofa Tu’ungafasi

Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Josh Goodhue, 20 Jed Brown, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Harry Plummer, 23 Matt Duffie

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