The Blues secured a 26-19 win over the Chiefs in their Vodacom Super Rugby warm-up match in Waihi on Friday.
While the Blues came into this clash without their marquee signing Beauden Barrett, the Chiefs welcomed back the influential Damian McKenzie, who enjoyed a decent hit out after his long-term injury that kept him out of the World Cup last year.
The Blues dominated the first half to lead 19-0, but Warren Gatland’s Chiefs came back strongly in the second stanza to make it a decent contest. In the end though, the Blues held on for the victory.
Hooker Kurt Eklund opened the scoring for the Blues, followed by a score from fellow front rower Ezekiel Lindenmuth and fullback Matt Duffie. Stephen Perofeta succeeded with two out of his three conversion attempts.
Hoskins Sotutu extended the Blues’ advantage to 26, but the Chiefs ran in three tries to get within seven points on the scoreboard. Unfortunately for them, they left it too late as the Blues held on to win.
Chiefs – Tries: Samisoni Taukei’aho (2), Naitoa Ah Kuoi. Conversions: Kaleb Trask (2).
Blues – Tries: Kurt Eklund, Ezekiel Lindenmuth, Matt Dufie, Hoskins Sotutu. Conversions: Stephen Perofeta (3).
Chiefs – 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Sean Wainui, 13 Quinn Tupaea, 12 Tumua Manu, 11 Shaun Stevenson, 10 Kaleb Trask, 9 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 8 Pita Gus Sowakula, 7 Mitchell Karpik, 6 Mitchell Brown, 5 Tyler Ardron, 4 Laghlan McWhannell, 3 Reuben O’Neill, 2 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 1 Ryan Coxon.
Subs: Bradley Slater, Ollie Norris, Ross Geldenhuys, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Lachlan Boshier, Lisati Milo-Harris, Orbyn Ledger, Solomon Alaimalo, Tiaan Falcon, Leroy Carter, James Thompson, Tupou Vaa’i, Aidan Ross, Simon Parker, Josh Lord, Donald Maka, Bailyn Sullivan, Dylan Nel, Robb Cobb, Alex Nankivell.
Blues – 15 Matt Duffie, 14 Mark Telea, 13 Tamati Tua, 12 TJ Faiane (c), 11 A J Lam, 10 Otere Black, 9 Jonathan Ruru, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Waimana Riedlinger-Kapa, 5 James Tucker, 4 Jacob Pierce, 3 Marcel Renata, 2 Kurt Eklund, 1 Alex Hodgman.
Subs: Ezekiel Lindenmuth, Tevita Mafileo, Ray Niuia, Luteru Tolai/ Soane Vikena, Sam Caird, Aaron Carroll, Josh Goodhue, Dalton Papalii, Tom Robinson, Tony Lamborn, Hoskins Sotutu, Sam Nock, Lewis Gjaltema, Stephen Perofeta, Jordan Hyland, Harry Plummer, Tanielu Tele’a, Joe Marchant, Emoni Narawa, Zarn Sullivan.