Blues player ratings vs Chiefs | Super Rugby Pacific
The team that was narrowly defeated by the Hurricanes in their first game of the season was retained, with the only change to line-up seeing Dalton Papalii take his place at flanker and captain. The Battle of the Bombays went right down to the wire, with both teams exchanging tries throughout the game.
The Blues hit back late to take the lead with 10 minutes to go. The Chiefs had a chance to win the game after a Blues gave away a penalty on full-time, but the Blues hung on to secure an important victory.
Here’s how the Blues rated:
1. Alex Hodgman – 5.5
Chiefs had the upper-hand on the Blues scrum and Hodgman was pinged for collapsing more than once. Subbed in the 52 minute.
2. Kurt Eklund – 7
Secured a number of clean turnovers at crucial times in the game. Lost a throw against the head, with Kaylum Boshier snagging it. Was excellent in the forward battle.
3. Nepo Laulala – 6
Put in a solid shift at the scrum but was overpowered at times, especially when the Blues went down a man for 10 minutes and shifted Sotutu to the wing for cover. Got around the park to support his forwards. Subbed off in the 54th minute.
4. Luke Romano – 6
Forming a good combination with his fellow locking partner Goodhue. Was excellent at lineout time and made some strong carries to get the Blues over the advantage line. Replaced with 20 minutes to go.
5. Josh Goodhue – 7
For the second week in a row, Goodhue put in a massive shift. Was tireless in defence and ran the lineout well. There were a few times he found himself going backwards as a result of running too high into contact, but he emptied the tank and put the Blues in a good position to win the match.
6. Tom Robinson – 7
Was a reliable target in the lineout and made plenty of hard carries. Often did the dirty jobs the other forwards shied away from. He will be forgiven for causing an obstruction by getting in front of Tu’ungafasi to give the Chiefs a shot at winning the game on full-time.
7. Dalton Papalii – 7.5
Returned to captain the Blues and led by example. Was all over the park in defence and acted as a disrupter in the rucks. It was a classy display and he proved a great match for Chiefs veteran Sam Cane.
8. Hoskins Sotutu – 6.5
Was able to find space one-out from the ruck to get a few balls free to his fellow forwards. Let the ball bounce which resulted in Brad Weber’s try. Made up for it in the second half by charging down a clearance kick and scoring the try to put the Blues ahead for the first time.
9. Finlay Christie – 6
His fast service allowed the Blues attack to keep the tempo up and stay in the game. Unfortunately, opportunities for him to scamper from the base of the ruck and get past defenders were few and far between. Subbed off for Nock with 20 minutes to go.
10. Harry Plummer – 5
The Blues attack was stilted under Plummer’s watch and they struggled to put together many phases. His distribution was a bit off and he made some poor tactical kicking decisions. Was moved to inside centre as cover for RTS after half time.
11. Caleb Clarke – 6.5
Was at his powerful best. Regathered a wayward pass and barged through two defenders to score the Blues opening try. He targeted the Chiefs defenders inside shoulders and made plenty of tackle breaks. Was binned for a deliberate knockdown when the Chiefs were hot on attack.
12. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck – 6
Was solid in defence with the Chiefs running the ball down his channel all day. Was able to contain his opposite number Tupaea. Was subbed off at half time.
13. Rieko Ioane – 6.5
Quiet day by his standards. Had some hard carries but was pretty well contained and we didn’t see him in open spaces too often during the game.
14. Mark Telea – 6
Was rapid down the right-hand touchline. Got stood up by Nanai-Seturo for the Chiefs second try. Seemed to suffer an arm injury in the first half but shook it off fairly quickly and lasted until the final whistle, scoring the match-winning try for the Blues.
15. Stephen Perofeta – 7.5
Was dangerous all game. Solid under the highball and spotted some gaps in the Chiefs defence early using his deceptive speed. Showed pace to get on the outside of Nanai-Seturo to put Mark Telea over in the corner with five minutes to go. Put the cherry on top by icing the conversion to put the Blues in the lead.
16. Ricky Riccitelli – N/A
Came on in the 70th minute and was serviceable at line-out time.
17. Ofa Tu’ungafasi – 6.5
Put in the game with Clarke still in the bin. Along with Renata, they were able to shore up the scrum. Made some great individual tackles.
18. Marcel Renata – 6
Came on and was solid at scrum time.
19. Sam Darry – N/A
Came on for Romano late in the game.
20. Adrian Choat – N/A
21. Sam Nock – 5
Played about 20 minutes. Was a part of the Blues late charge.
22. Beauden Barrett – 6.5
Finally got in the game at halftime after battling a concussion during the offseason. Showed a steady hand to lead around the blues backline but couldn’t get into any rhythm in attack.
23. AJ Lam – N/A
Came on to replace an injured Plummer at the 70th minute.
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