The Blues are now 13 matches without a Super Rugby win against New Zealand opposition and even more damning is the seven years since they’ve beaten the Chiefs. The Reds, despite not scoring a try, beat the Brumbies 18-10 in Brisbane.
Once again what started so well and promised so much ended in tears for the Blues who botched the chance to sneak a victory in the last move of the game. The Chiefs won 27-21 after the Blues led 14-5 midway through the first half.
The NZ Herald’s Patrick McKendry, at Eden Park, rated Damien McKenzie, Sam Cane, Brad Weber and Sean Wainui the standouts for the Chiefs.
McKendry added that a combination of the Blues’s own mistakes and referee Ben O’Keeffe’s whistle kept the brakes on the Blues’ attack, but that Chiefs flanker Cane, as against the Crusaders, was exceptional.
The Blues now travel to South Africa and captain Augustine Pulu and prop Neop Laulala are injury concerns.
The Blues are without a win after two matches and the Chiefs have won one from two.
Chiefs 27 (Taleni Seu, Sean Wainui, Sam Cane, Brad Weber tries; Damian McKenzie 2 cons, pen)
Blues 21 (Augustine Pulu, Akira Ioane, Bryn Gatland tries; Gatland 3 cons)
15 Melani Nanai, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 George Moala, 12 TJ Faiane, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Bryn Gatland, 9Augustine Pulu (captain), 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Murphy Taramai, 6 Jimmy Tupou, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 2 James Parsons, 1 Pauliasi Manu
Substitutes: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Michael Tamoaieta, 19 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 20 Jerome Kaino, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Daniel Kirkpatrick, 23 Michael Collins
15 Shaun Stevenson, 14 Sean Wainui, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Johnny Faauli, 11 Solomon Alaimalo, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Taleni Seu, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Michael Allardice, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Aidan Ross
Substitutes: 16 Liam Polwart, 17 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Mitchell Brown/Luke Jacobson, 20 Lachlan Boshier, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Tiaan Falcon, 23 Bailyn Sullivan/Declan O’Donnell