The Blues have returned to winning ways as they sent the Chiefs crashing to an unwanted record with a 21-17 victory in their Super Rugby Aotearoa clash watched by more than 33,000 fans at Eden Park.
The Blues produced a massive defensive effort on their line in the final five minutes to record a win that moved them to 17 competition points, two behind the table-topping Crusaders, who have a game in hand.
The Crusaders suffered their first loss of the domestic competition on Saturday when they went down 34-32 to the Hurricanes in Christchurch.
Both the Blues and Chiefs were desperate heading into Sunday’s match to arrest their respective slides with the Auckland side having lost their last two games after winning the first three.
The Chiefs were in even more dire straits, having lost their past six games across both Super Rugby and the domestic competition and Sunday’s defeat was a team-record seventh in succession.
The hosts, with Beauden Barrett in h is preferred position of five-eighth, looked the more dangerous as they raced out to a 14-0 lead courtesy of converted tries to Matt Duffie and captain Patrick Tuipulotu.
The Chiefs, helped by a succession of penalties, gradually began to build sustained pressure but were held out by a staunch defence and only had a try to Lachlan Boshier to show for their first-half endeavour.
Solomon Alaimalo tied the game up after he finished off a sweeping movement in which Brad Weber, Aaron Cruden and Anton Lienert-Brown combined beautifully for an attack down the blind side early in the second.
Damian McKenzie gave the Chiefs the lead for the first time when he slotted a penalty three minutes later.
However, Blues halfback Finlay Christie grabbed the advantage back with the hosts’ third try and they held onto their four-point advantage for the 25 minutes.
“We probably didn’t want it to get that close,” Blues captain Patrick Tuipulotu said.
“I think we had p lenty of opportunity in their half which we didn’t ca pitalise on.
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