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Chiefs miss injury time penalty as Blues clinch first win of season

By AAP
(Photo by Dave Rowland/Getty Images)

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The Blues have avoided a second consecutive heart-breaking loss to begin the Super Rugby Pacific season after Chiefs substitute Bryn Gatland missed a long-range penalty kick to win the game.

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The Blues won 24-22 at Eden Park, Harry Plummer nailing a sideline conversion to put them clear after Mark Telea scored a try with five minutes to play.

After losing by a point to the fast-finishing Hurricanes last week, the Blues appeared to have butchered it again when they gave away a penalty in the final seconds.

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A penalty 45 metres out and on an angle gave Gatland the chance for the Chiefs to go 2-0 this season, but he pushed his kick wide.

“I’m speechless at the moment … you don’t want to know what i was thinking in my head (as Gatland lined up the kick),” Blues captain Dalton Papalii said.

“We talked about winning the small moments, but we made it tough for ourselves.”

Blues No.12 and former New Zealand rugby league star Roger Tuivasa-Sheck had a handful of bright touches but was largely ineffective as Chiefs halfback Brad Weber scored twice in his 100th game.

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His first came from nothing, the No.9 kicking to no man’s land and somehow collecting after two bounces in traffic and darting out of traffic to score.

And from their next meaningful play Etene Nanai-Seturo sliced through the line to make it 12-3.

The Blues hit back through Caleb Clarke, the winger forced to wait for a long cut-out pass but still powering past three men to score in the corner.

Hoskins Sotutu got the Blues back in the contest with a brilliant solo effort, charging down a kick then grubbering ahead for himself to score.

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Weber’s second came off the back of a scrum before a penalty pushed them five points clear.

The Blues found a way though as Beauden Barrett returned from concussion off the bench and fellow All Black Anton Lienert-Brown (shoulder) also made his injury return from the pine.

Chiefs and All Blacks captain Sam Cane was a nuisance in the ruck to help his side within a kick of victory but admitted they had given the Blues too many chances.

“There’s not much between any of them (New Zealand teams); it’s going to come down to small moments in games,” he said.

“It’s about minimising your own errors … and we had just a couple too many of those tonight.”

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