Chiefs defeat Blues with brickwall defence
March 30, 2013
Bundee Aki saw yellow for this dangerous tackle on Rene Ranger
© Getty Images
The Chiefs combined impenetrable defence with electrifying back play to claim their fifth win of the Super Rugby season, defeating the Blues 23-16 at Baypark Stadium in Mount Maunganui on Saturday. The hosts led 9-6 after a bruising and intense first 40 minutes before running in tries from Ben Tameifuna and Richard Kahui in the second half to claim a victory that could have been more comfortable.
The Chiefs were reduced to 14 men 10 minutes after kick-off, after centre Bundee Aki was yellow-carded for a careless lifting tackle on Blues counterpart Rene Ranger, but the visitors couldn't capitalise; indeed, the Chiefs looked more dangerous and Gareth Anscombe touched down only to have the try disallowed after Chiefs lock Michael Fitzgerald had been ruled offside in forcing the turnover at an earlier breakdown.
Winger Lelia Masaga's electrifying acceleration and pace also created plenty of opportunities, with a golden chance going begging when he sliced through the scrambling Blues defence only to spill the ball in the final tackle.
Tameifuna, on for an injured Ben Afeaki late in the first half, scored the first try six minutes into the second half, crashing over from close range to give the Chiefs a 16-6 lead. Kahui then scored to cap his impressive return to the starting team, rewarded with a try in the 63rd minute after charging down Francis Saili's clearing kick inside his own 22.
The Blues, starved of possession for much of the second half, finally breached the unrelenting Chiefs defence when winger George Moala dotted down after 78 minutes. Baden Kerr's successful conversion gave them a hard-earned bonus point.
The Chiefs looked every inch the defending champions in defeating the Blues (video available only in Australia)