The Chiefs have beaten the Blues 15-12 in a major boilover in Hamilton as we reach the halfway mark in round robin play in Super Rugby Aotearoa 2021.
The Blues only had themselves to blame; they produced error after error, turned down loads of chances for kickable penalties and only had a converted try to show for themselves at halftime. The Chiefs kept in touch and in the last minute Luke Jacobson and Damian McKenzie showed a couple of pieces of magic for a last gasp try, much to the delight of the home crowd.
Here’re the Blues’ ratings
1. Alex Hodgman – 5
Shaky at scrum but is one of the best clean out merchants in Super Rugby. Off at halftime.
2. Luteru Tolai – 4
Toiled manfully but the Blues have a weakness at hooker compared with the other franchises. Off at 55.
3. Nepo Laulala– 4.5
Gleefully met Kaleb Trask down a dark alley in the 5th minute and smashed him. Aidan Ross had the better of him at the scrum, obviously having learnt a stack in Chiefs’ training from previous seasons! Off at halftime.
4. Patrick Tuipulotu – 6
Had a good night at line out time and was a venomous defender. The second row for the Blues should be part of any scrumming review as the Chiefs fielded two relative lightweights at lock but the visitors never took advantage of that. And the lack of taking penalty shots in the first half was a major talking point which Paddy will have to answer for.
5. Josh Goodhue – 5
Managed to get back and close down a Chiefs attack after Taukei’aho’s run in the 8th minute. Spilt two line out takes and off at halftime.
6. Akira Ioane – 5
Is in the middle of a form dip but had the temerity to pick up the AB captain and hold him in the air in the 13th minute. It took 24 minutes but Akira was the man to break the deadlock in the trenches with a try. Off at 51. Robinson is pushing him for a start.
7. Dalton Papalii – 8
He was in the driver’s seat for player of the match til the last minute when he was bettered by Dmac on his way to the line. Other than that, he was inspiring. Had 50% more tackles than anyone else from either team, 6 turnovers with some amazing ball and all tackles. Great pass to Robinson for his try and unlucky to be denied a try from a line out.
8. Hoskins Sotutu – 6.5
Top carries for his team. Lack of front row dominance gave him a rough ride at the back of the scrum. Doesn’t seem to have the exuberance and confidence he showed last year but he is classy player.
9. Finlay Christie – 6
Good to see a Blues halfback with speed, Nock has shown glimpses of what this can do in recent seasons but Christie is the real deal. Cover tackles aplenty as well. Off at 51.
10. Otere Black – 5
Average night from the tee and positional kicking wasn’t great. Strong tackle on Wainui in the 34th minute. Error at the back in 55th minute knocking the ball out.
11.Caleb Clarke – 6
Reasonable numbers but not humming at the level of 2020.
12. Harry Plummer – 5
Missed Tupaea in 11th minute and was a little off his game from the highs in the past fortnight. Off at 55 with Faiane snapping at his heels.
13. Rieko Ioane – 7
Tried to take Tupaea’s head off first up, but the Mighty Quinn got him back moments later for Cane to get a turnover. Tracked down Weber in the 39th minute and spent the match leading the attack with most metres and defending his channel defiantly.
14. Mark Telea- 5.5
Pacey tear down the right-wing in the 30th although Ta’avao stayed with him for a while! Not a bad outing after his break.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) March 27, 2021
15. Stephen Perofeta – 6
Got involved this week, busy at the back and in the line with continuity. Defending at first five he saw a load of traffic through his channels where the Chiefs had targeted him and Plummer. Did well to deny ALB in the in-goal in 53rd minute.
You’re at fullback, Tom Robinson has a full head of steam up, what’re you doing?#SuperRugbyAotearoa
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) March 27, 2021
16. Leni Apisai- N/A
On at 55.
17. Karl Tu’inukuafe – 5.5
On halftime. Couldn’t really improve the scrum.
18. Ofa Tuungafasi – 6.5
On at halftime for his 100th match. Lovely man unless you have the ball. The bones certainly shudder when he tackles you. Eventually got the scrum going once Ross went off.
19. Gerard Cowley-Tuioti 6
On halftime. Great work rate and direct running.
20. Tom Robinson – 7
On at 51. Wonderful dart down the right flank to score the try which got the Blues in front. …for a while……
21. Adrian Choat – N/A
22. Jonathan Ruru 6
On at 51. Collected some admiration from Justin Marshall which is not a surprise as he’s a very similar player with the three step and pass technique. Brave turnover in 68th minute.
23. TJ Faiane – 6
On at 55. Tackled his heart out and filled the gaping holes in midfield.
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