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Blues player ratings vs Chiefs | Super Rugby Pacific

By Jack O'Rourke
(Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

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The Blues took on close neighbours the Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday for Super Rugby Pacific.

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 In a rematch from a few weeks ago when the Blues escaped with the win in Auckland, it was the Blues who scored first in the Battle of the Bombays. The away side got away to 13 point lead before being forced to defend their line against a tenacious Chiefs side late in the second half.

Despite receiving back-to-back yellow cards, the Blues repelled their rivals for long enough to go into the sheds without allowing the Chiefs to score a point, thanks to a fantastic try-saving tackle by Ofa Tuungafasi. 

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The Blues continued to pile on the points but their poor discipline kept the Chiefs in the game. It was only the Blues desperate defence that kept the Chiefs from scoring and some brilliance from Beauden Barrett delivered the Blues a 25-0 victory. 

Here’s how Blues rated:

1. Alex Hodgman – 6/10

Made plenty of carries and was able to get his arms free a few times to pop the ball to his supporting players. Was more assured at scrum time than in recent weeks.

2. Kurt Eklund – 6.5

A few wonky lineout throws early on but he corrected his technique as the game went on. Showed silky hands to deliver an inside ball for Robinson to score the Blues opening try. Gave the blues a hard edge in the forwards and was a menace in the breakdown.

3. Ofa Tuungafasi – 6

Returned to bolster the Blues forward pack. Used his immense strength to outmuscle the Chiefs front row at scrum time. Pulled off a try-saving tackle on Samisoni Taukei’aho that saved the Blues from conceding a try right on halftime. 

4. Luke Romano – 6.5

Brought physicality to the game and his work ethic around the park was exceptional. Gave away a cynical penalty right on halftime to put his team in the tough position of defending their line a man down. 

5. Josh Goodhue – 6

Was fantastic in the air at lineout time. Was on the receiving end of a heavy tip tackle in the first 10 minutes but rallied to put in a big shift.

6. Tom Robinson – 6.5

Playing in his preferred position at blindside flanker. Opened the scoring for the Blues, running off a clever inside ball from Eklund, then got his double from a cross-field kick from Barrett. Was forced to shift into lock after a few yellow cards and acted as an option for them in the lineout throughout the game.

7. Dalton Papalii – 7

The skipper put in a monumental effort around the park, topping the teams tackle count with 22. Was also ruthless at the breakdown.

8. Hoskins Sotutu – 7

Returned to the Blues line-up to battle it out against Pita Gus Sowakula. Carried hard off the ruck. He put in a huge defensive effort and was strong on the ball recording three turnovers.

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9. Sam Nock – 6

Called into the starting lineup just minutes before kickoff due to an injury to Finlay Christie in the warm-up but it didn’t seem to phase him, providing good service from the base of the ruck. Gave a yellow for cynical play right on halftime. Some of his box kicks went a bit wayward.

10. Beauden Barrett – 8

Showed why is considered one of the best playmakers in the world. Was instrumental in many of the Blues tries and put in a perfectly weighted cross-field kick for Tom Robinson’s second try. His kicking from the field of the play had the Chiefs on their back heels all game.

11. Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens – 6.5

The talented youngster looked good when he got opportunities in open space. Was involved in a try-saving tackle on Nanai-Seturo in the second half. Subbed off at the 65th-minute mark.

12. Bryce Heem – 5.5

Was rock solid in defence, recording 11 tackles, and prevented any Chiefs traffic from breaking through his channel.

13. Rieko Ioane – 6

Was quite by his standard with ball in hand but still managed to link up with his winger Telea for a great run that set up a crucial try in the second half. Finished with 58 carry metres and made eight tackles in the middle.

14. Mark Telea – 7

 Went looking for work all game and tore off a team-high 64 metres when he got the ball in his hands. Also had some big defensive moments throughout the game.

15. Stephen Perofeta – 6

Was solid at the back and underplayed his hand in distributing. Had to come in and play scrumhalf for a spell to cover Nock when he was yellow-carded. 

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Reserves

16. Ricky Riccitelli – 6

Came on in the 60th minute and made impact off the bench, bending the advantage line with some of his runs.

17. Jordan Lay – N/A

Came on in the 60th minute.

18. Marcel Renata – 4.5

Came on in 60th but was soon yellow-carded for hands in the ruck.

19. James Tucker – 5.5

Came on in the 56th minute and was good around the park.

20. Adrian Choat – N/A 

21. Lisato Milo-Harris – N/A

22. Tanielu Tele’a – 5

Replaced Bryce Heem in the midfield and had some carries.

23. AJ Lam – 7

Put on a massive hit to force a turnover late in the game. Scored a try to secure a bonus point for his team. 

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