Two titans of New Zealand rugby collide as the 1996 Blues take on the 2013 Chiefs in Game 13 of the Greatest Super Rugby Team tournament.
Coached by Graham Henry and captained by Zinzan Brooke, the 1996 Blues team won the inaugural Super 12 tournament after finishing second on the table, losing three of their 11 fixtures.
In the playoffs, the Blues easily overcame Northern Transvaal (the Bulls), before beating the Natal Sharks 45-21 in the final at Eden Park.
The Blues’ free-flowing style is illustrated by the fact that they scored the most points in the round-robin stage (408), but also conceded the third most (354).
There were plenty of threats throughout this team, from the ‘Blues brothers’ wings Jonah Lomu and Joeli Vidiri (who scored 18 tries between them), playmaker Carlos Spencer, dynamic No 8 Brooke and the powerful front row of Olo Brown, Sean Fitzpatrick and Craig Dowd.
MAKE YOUR PREDICTION BELOW!
They will be challenged by Dave Rennie’s Chiefs team which did a Super Rugby double after successfully defending the title in 2013.
The Chiefs finished top of the New Zealand conference and first overall in the 2013 Super Rugby season, losing just four of their 16 games and remaining unbeaten against their New Zealand rivals, home and away.
In the semi-final, the Chiefs claimed a one-point win over the Crusaders, before holding on to beat Jake White’s Brumbies 27-22 in the final in Hamilton.
A tactically astute side, the Chiefs had three players finish as their top try-scorers in 2013: centre Bundee Aki, wing Tim Nanai-Williams and, surprisingly, prop Ben Tameifuna. Their gameplan was excellently executed by flyhalf Aaron Cruden and fullback Gareth Anscombe.
SA Rugby magazine’s tournament to crown the Greatest Super Rugby team of all time relies on your votes to decide the outcome of each match-up. Don’t forget to vote below!
1996 Blues – 15 Adrian Cashmore, 14 Joeli Vidiri, 13 Eroni Clarke, 12 Johnny Ngauamo, 11 Jonah Lomu, 10 Carlos Spencer, 9 Ofisa Tonu’u, 8 Zinzan Brooke (c), 7 Andrew Blowers, 6 Michael Jones, 5 Charles Riechelmann, 4 Robin Brooke, 3 Olo Brown, 2 Sean Fitzpatrick, 1 Craig Dowd.
Subs: 16 Lee Stensness, 17 Cameron Rackham, 18 Michael Scott, 19 Jason Chandler, 20 Kevin Nepia, 21 Andrew Roose.
Coach: Graham Henry
2013 Chiefs – 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Andrew Horrell, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Matt Vant Leven, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke (c), 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Toby Smith.
Subs: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Ben Afeaki, 18 Michael Fitzgerald, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Augustine Pulu, 21 Bundee Aki, 22 Robbie Robinson.
Coach: Dave Rennie