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Chiefs player ratings vs Blues | Super Rugby Aotearoa

By Nick Turnbull

Trending on RugbyPass

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Super Rugby Aotearoa round five continued this afternoon at FMG Stadium Waikato where a resurgent Chiefs hosted the star-studded Blues in the ‘Battle of the Bombay’s’. The locals went into the match coming off a drought-breaking 35-29 victory over the Hurricanes in round 4 that no doubt provided them with some unfamiliar psychological momentum going into the match.

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The Blues on-the-other-hand, were dented by their defeat at the hands of the Crusaders last week yet by were no means damaged and went into this match keen to atone for the loss and to re-establish themselves with winnings ways.

There were some milestones achieved in this match with Chief’s winger Sean Wainui earning his 50th Super Rugby Cap after debuting against the Crusaders in 2018. And All Black enforcer Ofa Tuungafasi earning his 100th for the Blues.

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Tony Brown interview after the Highlanders’ loss to the Hurricanes.

The combatants went to the sheds with the Blues ahead 7-0, but this wasn’t a dour affair. The first half was a physical affair coupled with a number of attacking raids by both sides, yet neither could deliver the final blow. If anything, the Chiefs looked the better side at the break despite being behind on the scoreboard.

The second half just evolved into an epic encounter with both sides throwing the ‘kitchen sink’ at each and every other piece of cutlery they could beg, borrow or steal. Eventually it was a Damien McKenzie try in the 79th minute that sealed a remarkable 5-12 victory by a team that only two weeks were written off by some.

This is how Rugby Pass rated the Chiefs:

1. Aidan Ross – 7/10

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To nullify this Blues pack the Chiefs tight 5 needed to front up with something special, and he did. Nothing pretty but just a solid platform laid for his side to work off.

2. Samisoni Taukei’aho – 7.5

Bit of mixed bag but when he got it right, he caused the Blues any number of headaches be it in tight or on the short side. If there were any real issue it was his lineout tonight but he did enough.

3. Angus Ta’avao – 7

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Akin to his partner Aiden Ross, he was instrumental in giving his side a platform to work off against a quality opponent.

4. Samipeni Finau – 7

Worked hard in the tight and was physical against more experienced opponents. Nothing fancy but did manage a turnover.

5. Naitoa Ah Kuoi – 7.5

Was quite special tonight as he was fearless into contact and was a handful for the Blues in defence. The personification of how physicality and urgency to the next set can extinguish whatever the opposition may have planned.

6. Mitchell Brown – 7

Guilty of some ill-discipline early on but worked tirelessly throughout the game and contributed nicely on both sides of the ball to the win.

7. Sam Cane – 7

Not his greatest performance but he certainly caused the Blues issues around the breakdown nabbing two turnovers. Topping the tackle count with 15 he led his side by example, as he always does.

8. Luke Jacobson – 7.5

Special performance against a quality backrow, and like Sam Cane, he caused the Blues issues at the breakdown and was a wall in defence.

9. Brad Weber – 7.5

Was dangerous at the breakdown, but heroic in defence. There service he provided both Kaleb Trask and later Damien McKenzie ensured that the Chiefs were able to win this one at the death.

10. Kaleb Trask – 7

Really enjoyed his game and he has developed nicely. Knew when to take the ball the line or when to use the options off him. He played tough and played intelligently.

11. Sean Wainui – 7

Very solid in his 50th Chiefs cap. Just worked hard off the ball, chased the kicks and made his tackles. Didn’t get as many attacking opportunities as he may have liked but he carried well when they came.

12. Quinn Tupaea – 8 

He was devastating in attack tonight causing the Blues midfields headaches they’ll be feeling for a while yet. His defence was also telling as the Blues didn’t get as much punch through the midfield as they may have been hoping for because of this man. Best Chief on the park.

13. Anton Lienert-Brown – 7.5

All his experience came to the fore in every aspect of his game tonight. Be it defence, attack or positional play or doing the dirty work at the ruck.

14. Shaun Stevenson – 7

Like Wainui, he didn’t get much of a chance in attack, but his defence tonight was his biggest contribution to the win.

15. Damian McKenzie – 8

A class above the others tonight and whilst Trask played well, McKenzie really brought his side home with all of his smarts. Scoring the winning try was fitting for a player who now appears absolutely recovered from a serious knee injury sustained several seasons ago.

Reserves:

16. Bradley Slater – 6

Did enough despite one overthrow when the Chiefs were well on attack.

17. Ollie Norris – 6

Up against a more experienced pack he did his job.

18. Reuben O’Neill – N/A

19. Simon Parker – N/A

Didn’t see enough.

20. Pita Gus Sowakula – 6.5

Came on and worked hard and brought the desired impact.

21. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi – N/A

22. Alex Nankivell – N/A

Didn’t see enough.

23. Chase Tiatia – N/A

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Chiefs player ratings vs Blues | Super Rugby Aotearoa

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