Damian McKenzie scored a self-converted try in the last minute of an enthralling contest to give the Chiefs a 15-12 win over the Blues in Hamilton on Saturday.
Late drama: Trailing by four at the death, the Chiefs made one last play and it paid off. No 8 Luke Jacobson made the crucial linebreak when he ran through the heart of the Blues defence. It was only desperate defence that brought him down before the line, but he managed to offload and from there the Chiefs recycled possession quickly to McKenzie, who rounded three defenders to score the match-winner. There was, however, a captain’s referral from the Chiefs, asking officials to check Jacobson’s offload for a potential forward pass. However, replays confirmed that it was not clear and obvious whether the ball travelled forward out of his hands and therefore the on-field decision stood.
Gameflow: The first half was all action and no reward, particularly for the Blues. The visitors made the most of the attacking plays, but unfortunately for were unable to convert that continued pressure into points. That in equal parts was because of poor finishing by the Blues and excellent defence by the Chiefs. The Blues scored only one converted try, but should’ve been up by more had they not turned down multiple shots at goal.
Be that as it may, buoyed by their resilience under pressure the Chiefs sparked to life in the last 10 minutes before the break. They almost ran in a scintillating try from 100 metres out, but the Blues scrambled back well to keep them out to just about maintain their seven-point lead at the halfway mark.
The second half started like the first half ended, with the Chiefs threatening on attack and a quick-fire eight-point swing had the hosts hitting the front for the first time by a single point. But their joy was short-lived as Blues replacement Tom Robinson came off the bench to score a magical individual try when he stormed down the right-hand side to dot down. From there, the Blues were forced to make countless tackles in their own half and did incredibly well to hold out. But their defensive wall eventually crumbled as McKenzie had the final say.
Not kicking on: Blues flyhalf Otere Black converted just one of his three attempts at goal for a 33% success rate off the kicking tee, while the Chiefs flyhalf succeeded with two of three kicks at goal for a 66% return.
Century milestone for prop: With his introduction to the game at the start of the second half, Ofa Tu’ungafasi won his 100th Super Rugby cap dating back to the 2013 season when he made his debut for the Blues.
What does it mean?: The win has the Chiefs rising to third in the standings, above the Hurricanes and Highlanders.
— The Blues (@BluesRugbyTeam) March 27, 2021