Under-strength Chiefs deal to Blues again
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It was a credit to the Chiefs that in spite of the late loss of lock Brodie Retallick and wing Shaun Stevenson, and the mid-game loss of prop Nepo Laulala, and all the other injuries in their squad, that they were able to retain their composure. By contrast the Blues were left to think if they couldn’t win a game with their opposition down on strength they would wonder when they might ever win.
And it was a summation of the Blues’ night that their last chance of the game, two minutes into injury time, saw a not straight throw to the lineout.
Down 10-14 at the break, the Chiefs mounted an all out assault at the resumption. When Blues captain and halfback Augustine Pulu inexplicably failed to clear ball from a ruck, the Chiefs too easily counter-rucked, won the ball and set up a chance from a five-metre lineout which saw lock Mitchell Brown score.
Then, when attempting to run back a kick from the restart Blues fullback Melani Nanai threw a pass which went to ground and was picked up by Chiefs halfback Brad Weber and he raced 45m unchallenged and scored.
Rallying themselves, the Blues turned the pressure back on the Chiefs and as they conceded penalties, they had to turn back lineout drives and eventually the pressure told with a gap opening up for first five-eighths Bryn Gatland who went through to score.
While they started well enough the Blues were unable to maintain their control to establish a winning position.