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Blues player ratings vs Chiefs | Super Rugby Pacific

By Ned Lester
Rieko Ioane in action for the Blues. Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images

The Blues faced an almighty challenge in Hamilton for round six of Super Rugby Pacific, squaring off with the unbeaten Chiefs in the “battle of the Bombays”.

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The game couldn’t have started much worse for the Auckland side, receiving the kickoff just to have it ripped and for Damian McKenzie to put the grubber kick through with Emoni Narawa winning the race to score in the corner.

The game then settled into a back-and-forth with hard-fought tries going either way while the conditions worsened. Handling errors crept into the game for both teams but the Chiefs continued their high-volume kicking tactics and punished the Blues for their lack of execution under pressure. halftime score: 17-10.

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Scoring was almost non-existent in the second 40, keeping fans on the edge of their seat as the Blues went close to scoring on several occasions but again just couldn’t execute.

The game was still in the balance in the dying minutes and the Blues made their way into the Chiefs’ five-meter line, a couple of strong carries built hope that they could steal a draw but again, they suffered a knock on and the game was lost. Fulltime score: 20-13.

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Here’s how the Blues rated:

1. Jordan Lay – 6.5/10

The Blues scrum performed well throughout the night, giving the Chiefs problems which confounded the host’s ill-discipline and saw them receive a warning just 20 minutes into the game. Lay contributed just a handful of tackles and found limited impact around the park.

2. Ricky Riccitelli – 7

Out-muscled in the contact early. Would have blown an attacking opportunity with a misthrown lineout five meters from the Chiefs’ line but was bailed out by the Chiefs’ ill-discipline. Subsequently scored a strong try two phases after the ensuing scrum. Settled into a more characteristic game in the end, finishing as one of the Chiefs’ best tacklers.

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3. Nepo Laulala – 8

Went searching for ways to inject himself physically, nailing Damian McKenzie in an early exchange. Showed great dominance throughout the many scrums he was a part of, putting in a big shift without easing the pressure.

4. Cameron Suafoa – 5.5

A mixed bag early, discipline was called out but also stole a lineout. Wasn’t able to make his mark on the game physically. While you’ve got to admire Suafoa for filling in whatever position Leon Macdonald has asked of him, you’d have to think he’s hoping to get a chance back in the loose forwards at some point soon so he can express his more dynamic skillset. In the meantime, he’ll take learnings from being involved in more of the gritty work and come through a more robust player for it.

5. Sam Darry – 6.5

Coughed up the ball off the opening kickoff which led to the Chiefs scoring 20 seconds later. One of the Blues’ stronger carriers on the night, playing with real enthusiasm.

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6. Anton Segner – 6

The youngster went about his business as a solid contributor around the park but just couldn’t find the opportunities he did last week. The few times he went searching for a turnover the Chiefs were all over him.

7. Dalton Papalii (c) – 7

Blues fans were looking to their captain for a big performance in this one, as Papali’i squared off with Sam Cane. Papali’i had a quiet opening 40 but found ways to inject himself early in the second. The match perhaps served as a learning for the young captain as the tight game handed him plenty of tough decisions and while he admirably backed his players to execute by looking for more than the three points on offer, the team just looked out of sync and couldn’t get the payoff.

8. Hoskins Sotutu – 7

Wasn’t able to have much of an influence on attack in the first half but his pace served the Blues well during some of the Chiefs’ threatening runs.

9. Finlay Christie – 7.5

Found himself under pressure often as clean ball was hard to come by in the slippery conditions, kept his composure though and made good decisions. Caught out by the new rules around the scrum once but executed his own set-piece moves well.

10. Beauden Barrett – 5

Started the match with some poor conversion attempts and botched a sure try as he was over the try line attempting to get closer to the posts, but ankle tapped by Tupou Vaa’i and hit the dead ball line. Handed the Chiefs the ball with a couple of handling errors. Showed glimpses of coming to life in the closing minutes when the game was on the line but it was too little too late. Overall an uncharacteristically indecisive and inaccurate outing.

11. Caleb Clarke – 7

Out-paced by Emoni Narawa as his opposite scored the opening try. Proved as always to be an incredibly strong finisher. Some great work under the high ball, chasing well and timing his jumps perfectly.

12. Harry Plummer – 4

Struggled to find a rhythm in the game. His short balls were ineffective and the Blues’ attack in general looked like it was lacking some identity and purpose.

13. Rieko Ioane – 7

Very strong defensive work throughout. Quiet on attack in the opening 40. Found half gaps and used his incredible acceleration to good effect in getting some post-contact meters. The Blues just couldn’t find ways to set their X-factor players free.

14. Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens – 5

Just a handful of touches for Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens in this one.

15. Stephen Perofeta – 6

Out-hustled by Narawa for the opening try. A maul call after he got a knee to ground in a Brodie Retallick tackle would’ve caused flashbacks from the end of the Crusaders game. A couple of knock-ons under the high ball were uncharacteristic. Had just a couple of chances at first receiver where his playmaking looked to unlock elements of the Blues attack that were rarely seen in the match.

 

Reserves:

16. Kurt Eklund – 6

17. Ofa Tuungafasi – 7.5

The All Black came on and continued the momentum the Blues had at scrum time.

18. James Lay – 7

19. Patrick Tuipulotu – 8

Had a good impact on the game when he entered, tidying up the phase play with some strong and controlled carries.

20. Tom Robinson – 6

21. Sam Nock – 6

22. Corey Evans – N/A

23. Zharn Sullivan – 6

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Comments

2 Comments
W
William 468 days ago

Very generous with the scores when you consider they lost

J
JB 469 days ago

Pretty generous to Beauden Barrett, he had a stinker. Both he and Richie Mo’unga have had slow starts this year, RM was also ordinary against the reds

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