Match details: Blues v Chiefs, Sunday 26 July, 3.35pm, Eden Park, Auckland
Referee: Brendon Pickerill
Won: Blues 12, Chiefs 21, drawn 1
Last match: Chiefs 12, Blues 24
Watch: Sky Sport NZ
Last week’s second half performance against the Highlanders really summed up the season so far for the 0-5 Chiefs. Up 31-7 with 34 minutes on the clock, the Chiefs were hapless as the Highlanders stormed back to secure a scarcely believable 33-31 win. It was a bitter low for the Chiefs and one that ended their very faint hopes of lifting the Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa title. The Blues are also coming off a heart-breaking loss. After leading for much of the match, a clutch Jordie Barrett conversion from the sideline stole the game from under the Blues nose.
DEFENCE IS KEY
Blues Head Coach Leon MacDonald said 30 missed tackles against the Hurricanes was a concern but there were still plenty of positives to carry over to the clash against the Chiefs. “There were lots of good things with our lineout, mauls and some good carries. We know the Chiefs are much better than their results and will bring everything to this match as they always do. There’s everything to play for and we are excited to be home at Eden Park in front of a big crowd of fans on Sunday,” MacDonald said.
MAUL, MAUL, MAUL
Although both the Chiefs and Blues are renowned for their attacking flair, they have also proven to be skilled exponents of the maul in 2020. The Chiefs have gained an incredible 122 metres at maul time in Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa, more than any other team. The Blues haven’t gained as many metres as the Chiefs at maul time, but they have crossed for three tries in the process, compared to the Chiefs two tries scored from the maul.
The Blues are looking to secure back-to-back wins against the Chiefs for the first time since the 2010/11.
Blues: 15 Matt Duffie, 14 Mark Telea, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 TJ Faiane, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Finlay Christie; 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Blake Gibson, 5 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu ©, 3 Ofa Tuungafasi, 2 Kurt Eklund, 1 Alex Hodgman.
Reserves: 16 Luteru Tolai, 17 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18. Sione Mafileo, 19 Josh Goodhue, 20 Tony Lamborn, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Otere Black or Emoni Narawa, 23 Harry Plummer
1. Reuben O’Neill 2. Bradley Slater 3. Nepo Laulala 4. Tupou Vaa’i 5. Mitchell Brown 6. Lachlan Boshier 7. Sam Cane © 8. Pita Gus Sowakula 9. Brad Weber 10. Kaleb Trask 11.Solomon Alaimalo 12. Alex Nankivell 13. Anton Lienert-Brown 14. Sean Wainui 15. Damian McKenzie
Reserves: Samisoni Taukei’aho, Ollie Norris, Ross Geldenhuys, Adam Thomson, Mitchell Karpik, Lisati Milo-Harris, Aaron Cruden, Quinn Tupaea