Chiefs dismantle Blues in Hamilton
Friday, March 3, 2017 allblacks.com Getty Images
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It was always going to be a brutal clash and the opening stages were just that as the two physical forward packs battled for ascendency. For the Chiefs, the lock pairing of Dominic Bird and Brodie Retallick were impressive while Kane Hames was a tower of strength up front.
The Blues had long periods of possession in the first half and pushed out to a 9-5 lead after 20 minutes through three well struck Ihaia West penalties.
While the Blues were building slowly, the Chiefs showed they could score from anywhere when Dominic Bird slipped a superb ball to Tim Nanai Williams who put Damian McKenzie over in the corner.
Another powerful Hames scrumming effort gave the Chiefs a penalty out in front and a handy 15-9 lead. With the first half winding down, the match-changing moment happened as Tawera Kerr-Barlow went on a scything run in the Blues half. Falling for the dummy, Steven Luatua took Nanai-Williams high and was red-carded by referee Ben O’Keefe.
The Blues were shell-shocked and struggled to contain the rampant Chiefs as two more tries were scored to make it 41-9 after just 60 minutes. One was a try of the season contender as the ball was turned over and the Chiefs moved it through a number of different hands before Anton Lienert-Brown crossed for his first Super Rugby try.
There was no shortage of strength on the Blues bench and they showed their class as Charlie Faumuina, Patrick Tuipulotu and Rene Ranger all crossed to close the gap to 41-26.
The victory extended the Chiefs winning run over the Blues to 11 matches and takes the Chiefs to clear top of the Super Rugby ladder.
Chiefs Captain and Super Rugby centurion Aaron Cruden said: “I had my first game in 2010 against the Blues so it was quite special to bring up the ton against them tonight. I enjoyed the game tonight, it was pretty free-flowing and Super Rugby seems to get faster and faster. We were good in patches but there are always things to work on and we look forward to another challenge next week against the defending champions the Hurricanes,” Cruden said.
Chiefs 41 (Liam Messam, Damian McKenzie, Hika Elliot, Lachlan Boshier, James Lowe, Anton Lienert-Brown tries, Cruden 4 con, pen) Blues 26 (Patrick Tuipulotu, Charlie faumuina, Rene Ranger tries, Ihaia West 3 pen, con)
FT | @BluesRugbyTeam finish strong but it's not enough as @ChiefsRugby hold on for the bonus point win.#BattleoftheBombays @CHIvBLU pic.twitter.com/vFK57EKuob— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) March 3, 2017
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