The men from Auckland travelled to Hamilton in search of their first win in the city since 2011, and came away with a hard-fought, but well-deserved, 24-12 victory, with tries to Hoskins Sotutu and Mark Telea sealing the deal against their tryless opponents.
The result should dispel any notion that the Blues stand as title pretenders – rather than title contenders – as they backed up their impressive 30-20 win over the Hurricanes at Eden Park last week with a strong display where many players flourished.
Set to face the Highlanders back at home in seven days’ time, the Blues could expect to see another bumper crowd walk through the turnstiles after Saturday night’s effort, if the reaction on Twitter is anything to go by.
Many punters have lauded the in-form franchise for their efforts against the Chiefs, who many considered to be favourites given the strength of their squad.
Much of the praise was aimed at MacDonald, with one user even suggesting that the former Crusaders star is churning the long-underperforming club into a side that could emulate the franchise he won seven Super Rugby titles with.
— Adam Burns (@AJKBurns) June 20, 2020
— James Peti (@jpeti267) June 20, 2020
Outstanding win for the hot running @BluesRugbyTeam #CHIvBLU
Franchise record for away wins!
Fantastic rugby all round! Well done @ChiefsRugby @NZRugby @AllBlacks @SuperRugbyNZ #SuperRugbyAotearoa #AucklandBlues #SportWinsTheDay#ProudKiwi #MatthewHunt#RIPMatthewHunt@nzpolice
— Capt Yank&Bank? ?? (Timmo) (@KiwiPilotBloke) June 20, 2020
— Nigel Burke (@nigelburke11) June 20, 2020
— Mark Muchai (@Muchaiki) June 20, 2020
— No Teslas in the Hood (@theweekdaez) June 20, 2020
— Robbie Feldmann (@robbie_f84) June 20, 2020
The Auckland Blues register their first win in Hamilton since 2011.
— NXTGEN Group (@nxtgensportsgrp) June 20, 2020
Still a fair few penalties, but it felt like both sides were trying to be more disciplined in that match.
— Oli Lathrope (@olilathrope) June 20, 2020
#CHIvBLU blues of previous years lose that match comfortably! Fantastic win after being under the pump due to our own discipline
— Rob Maxwell (@rmax84) June 20, 2020
While MacDonald earned plenty of compliments for the work he’s done from the coaching ranks, others took to Twitter to express how impressed they were with the performances of the Auckland side’s forward pack.
Among those to have stood out was player of the match Hoskins Sotutu, who has established himself as one of the most promising young players in Super Rugby this year, and has been earmarked as a potential successor to Kieran Read as the All Blacks‘ No. 8.
Elsewhere, skipper Patrick Tuipulotu was another subject of praise, with one fan going as far to say the 27-year-old – who earlier this week signed a three-year contract extension with New Zealand Rugby – is the best lock on the planet.
— Sean (@SeanTafirenyika) June 20, 2020
2/2 for @BluesRugbyTeam – Hoskin and Patty were huge, love the speed Nock and Christie deliver the ruck ball at, for so long we’ve suffered ponderous half backs and now we actually can look deadly with fast ball #CHIvBLU
— Rogan (@rmtempler) June 20, 2020
@PattyTuipulotu best lock in the world?
He is for me #CHIvBLU
— ??????n? Ben (@bengully) June 20, 2020
— FlyingG Sports (@FlyinggSports) June 20, 2020
— Leonard Solms (@LeonSolms) June 20, 2020
Due to the conditions it wasn’t really a platform for attacking rugby, although the Blues did a good job of bottling up Mckenzie he couldn’t get anything going. We knew the Blues had the back, but the forwards showed grit tonight. Sotutu pure quality, the future? #CHIvBLU
— Ciaron Noble (@CiaronNoble98) June 20, 2020
Hoskins Sotutu will be an All Black. #CHIvBLU
— Roland Rutihinda (@RoroRuti) June 20, 2020
Regardless of where Sotutu and Tuipulotu stand in the national set-up, it’s clear to see there is plenty of hype surrounding this exciting Blues team, which appears to finally be realising its potential as title candidates after 17 trophy-less years.
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