The Chiefs secured an incredible final victory over the Blues in a thrilling Super Rugby Aotearoa clash of the Battle of the Bombays in Hamilton on Saturday night.
As they watched out at 12-8 with one minute left, Damian McKenzie slipped his way past the posts to seal a 15-12 win and send the delighted 12997 to FMG Stadium Waikato.
Fans definitely had to wait awhile to celebrate a win – this stunning comes 413 days since the Chiefs’ last home win. Just a week after avoiding setting a new record for a Kiwi losing streak, they again managed to stop their ground rot at a short of new territory.
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And just like last week in the capital, it was a few of their big guns that rose up when it mattered most – with Luke Jacobson doing a field assault run to the death, before the McKenzie livewire chooses not to turn wide and does the trick itself.
There was still late drama, as the Blues used their captain’s recommendation to verify the last pass, and it was a tight thing, but TMO Aaron Paterson rightly ruled there was no evidence. clear and obvious to cancel the field test after Jacobson’s ball at Chase Tiatia.
In what was a blow to the Blues, in what was Ofa Tuungafasi 100th Super Rugby game, as they suffered a second rebound loss, following their loss to the Crusaders last weekend, and the Chiefs are now breathing down the neck. the scale, just two points behind in third place.
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It was a low scoring competition, but in what has been a competition without close games, it was a second successive thriller for the Chiefs, who are now back in business and have a goodbye to catch their breath.
It took 25 minutes for the first points of the game, but that didn’t mean the crowd was lacking in entertainment. It was high octane stuff, there were some hard knocks, and chiefs second-five Quinn Tupaea broke the line twice, only to have his post-tackle distribution then deemed insufficient.
The Blues seemed to be just as guilty in that department, when, camping near the Chiefs ‘line and with the hosts’ discipline starting to crack, a ridiculous pass between Harry Plummer’s legs went to the stands, not to the hand, and apparently let the chiefs go.
However, when the Chiefs missed the roster, the Blues did indeed have their chance, with Finlay Christie closing in and then Akira Ioane burrowing in.
In the half hour it looked like the visitors were on their second, pouncing on a botched attack from the Chiefs, and Mark Telea rushing down the right touch, only for McKenzie to chase after him in a brilliant tackle.
Anton Lienert-Brown’s late tackle on Stephen Perofeta gave the Blues a late giveaway in front of the sticks, but they continued to prefer the roster, but it continued to perform poorly, and instead it was almost the Chiefs scoring one stunner the other. end, only so that Mitchell Brown’s last assist didn’t come off, and the Blues took their lead 7-0 at halftime.
Clearly dissatisfied with how his team’s set piece worked, with their scrum also back-pedaling on occasion, Leon MacDonald made the rare move of three changes at halftime – introducing props Tuungafasi and Alex Hodgman, and lock Gerard Cowley-Tuioti.
But, after McKenzie got the home side on the set via the tee in the 46th minute, a massive Chiefs scrum must have made MacDonald a worried man. It marked a turning point, with a high number of jerseys coming in from all over to hit big men in the back.
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With Sam Cane refusing the shots, the Chiefs then camped in the 22m of the Blues. They thought they had their rewards in the 54th minute when Lienert-Brown chased a kick from Kaleb Trask, but TMO Paterson felt he was out of control – probably, with just a finger in it, the right call, despite the echo of boos which then rang around the stadium.
But, just four minutes later, local boy Paterson befriended fans again, able to reward the Chiefs for their first try of the night, with Samisoni Taukei’aho barging in.
The Chiefs would hold onto their lead for less than five minutes, as while Otere Black missed an unforgettable penalty shot, the Blues quickly pounced on an attack on the short side and impact man Tom Robinson made a charge of 40 meters on the right side. for the second five points from visitors.
Suddenly the wave of momentum was with the Blues, and great players like Caleb Clarke and Rieko Ioane started stamping their class, and Cane cautiously left the park with 14 minutes remaining.
The Blues appeared to have struck a crucial 69th-minute blow thanks to Dalton Papalii, but Paterson ruled him out due to a maul obstruction, and the Chiefs were still in it.
IN ONE LOOK
Heads 15 (Samisoni Taukei’aho, Damian McKenzie tries; Damian McKenzie with, pen) Blues 12 (Akira Ioane, Tom Robinson tries; Otere Black con). HT: 0-7.
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