Blues’ fightback floors Chiefs

The Blues overturned a 12-point deficit to claim a 24-12 victory over the Chiefs in a warm-up match in Pukekohe on Friday.

They showed great resilience to fight back while a man down for the last 30 minutes after captain Jerome Kaino was red-carded for punching.

The visitors welcomed back their stars for this clash, including Aaron Cruden who last played 10 months ago. And it showed in the opening minutes as the Chiefs raced out to a 12-0 lead. A try by lock Patrick Tuipulotu from a lineout drive got the Blues on the scoreboard as they went into the break trailing 12-5.

A converted effort by scrumhalf Bryn Hall immediately after the interval drew the hosts level and started their upturn. Kaino was then caught striking Chiefs prop Pauliasi Manu and sent off. The two-time World Cup winner will now face disciplinary action and, if found guilty, might miss the Blues' opening Super Rugby match.

Despite the man over, the Chiefs failed to make any inroads as the Blues defended valiantly while adding further tries through Lolagi Visinia and Matt Duffie to seal the result.

Blues – Tries: Patrick Tuipulotu, Bryn Hall, Lolagi Visinia, Matt Duffie. Conversions: Ihaia West (2).
Chiefs – Tries: Charlie Ngatai, TBC. Conversion: Aaron Cruden.

Blues – 15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Melani Nanai, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 George Moala, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Jerome Kaino (c), 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Hoani Matenga, 3 Sione Mafileo, 2 Quentin MacDonald, 1 Ofa Tu'ungafasi.
Subs: 16 James Parsons, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Namatahi Waa, 19 Charlie Faumuina, 20 Scott Scrafton, 21 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 22 Patrick Tuipulotu, 23 Kara Pryor, 24 Joe Edwards, 25 Billy Guyton, 26 Matt McGahan, 27 Male Sa'u, 28 Reiko Ioane, 29 Ben Lam, 30 Matt Duffie.

Chiefs – 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Glen Fisiiahi, 13 Seta Tamanivalu, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 Sam McNicol, 10 Aaron Cruden (c), 9 Brad Weber, 8 Tom Sanders, 7 Sam Cane (c), 6 Taleni Seu, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Michael Allardice, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Rhys Marshall, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Subs: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Mitchell Graham, 18 Hiroshi Yamashita, 19 Johan Bardoul, 20 Tevita Koloamatangi, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Chase Tiatia, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown, 24 Latu Vaeno, 25 Lalakai Foketi, 26 James Tucker, 27 James Lowe, 28 Shaun Stevenson, 29 Atu Moli.

Photo: Michael Bradley/Getty Images

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