Sat, Mar 03, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Waikato Chiefs’ record win gives Auckland the Blues


Waikato Chiefs yesterday came from behind to extend their Super Rugby dominance over the Auckland Blues with a 27-21 win at Eden Park in Auckland.

The Chiefs took their unbeaten run against their New Zealand rivals to 13 matches, a record between two teams in the competition.

The sequence includes 12 wins and one draw, with the Blues last tasting victory in the North Island derby in March 2011.

It was a particularly painful loss for coach Tana Umaga’s side, who led 14-5 mid-way through the first half and faced a Chiefs outfit weakened by 17 injuries.

The Aucklanders are now winless after two matches, but captain Augustine Pulu said there was still time to get their season on track.

The Chiefs’ injury woes deepened when fullback Shaun Stevenson and All Black lock Brodie Rettallick were ruled out just before kick off, forcing coach Colin Cooper to reshuffle his backline and forward pack.

The Blues capitalized when Pulu crossed for a converted try in the eighth minute after being set up by hooker Jamie Parsons.

The Chiefs hit back with a Taleni Seu five-pointer, but had to absorb sustained Blues pressure, which paid off when Akira Ioane brushed off Damien McKenzie’s tackle to score his third try of the season.

Defensive errors gifted the Chiefs a second try through Sean Wainui, narrowing the Blues’ lead to 14-10 at halftime.

The Chiefs then stunned the Blues with two tries in two minutes, as Cane dotted down for the first from a line-out drive and Brad Weber scooted down the wing for the second, with a penalty increasing the lead to 27-14.

The Blues of previous years would have folded, but flyhalf Bryn Gatland, son of Wales coach Warren, scored a converted try to make it 27-21.

The Aucklanders laid siege to the Chiefs’ half and had a line-out after the siren, but blew the opportunity by not throwing the ball in straight.

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