Chiefs battle past 13-man Blues
Sat, 13 Jul 2013 09:20
Kane Barrett was shown a red card for stamping
The Chiefs had to work hard for their 26-16 bonus-point victory over a 13-man Blues side in Auckland on Saturday.
The victory sees the Chiefs move to the top of the standings, with the Bulls the only team that can displace them ahead of their match against the Stormers at Newlands.
While it was the result the Chiefs wanted, bouncing back after their 15-43 defeat to the Crusaders last week, they will be disappointed with the way they were made to struggle against an understrength Blues.
As if the long flight home from South Africa during the week was not enough of a handicap for the Aucklanders, they were further hamstrung in the 22nd minute when Kane Barrett was red-carded as they trailed 3-8.
With their season already over, the Blues could have given up when their blindside flanker was dismissed for stamping.
Instead, they raised their passion and increased the pressure on the New Zealand Conference winners with a try by Charles Piutau to regain the lead 10-8.
With nothing but pride to play for, and to send captain Ali Williams off on a high note in his final game in New Zealand before heading to France to play for Toulon, the Blues ruffled the Chiefs with their intense pressure.
By half-time it was 13-13 after Hika Elliot scored the Chiefs' second try, following an early touchdown by Bundee Aki and Baden Kerr landed his second penalty for the Blues.
The Blues struck first in the second half with a third penalty from Kerr to open a 16-13 lead.
However, minutes later the flyhalf went from hero to villain, yellow-carded for deliberately knocking the ball down, and the Chiefs made the most of their two-man advantage to hit the front again with a try by Ben Tameifuna.
Although the Chiefs enjoyed an overwhelming territory and possession advantage they let themselves down with frequent errors and were only able to score one more try when Tameifuna crashed over for his second after the Blues lost a defensive line-out.
The Chiefs were also not helped on the scoreboard by Aaron Cruden missing all four conversion attempts.
A Gareth Anscombe penalty on the stroke of full-time concluded their scoring and ensured the Chiefs will have a week off before their semifinal match.
Man of the match: Apart from his two tries, big tighthead prop Ben Tameifuna had a great game and certainly left his mark on the Blues.
For the Blues:
Pens: Kerr 2
For the Chiefs:
Tries: Aki, Elliot, Tameifuna 2
Pens: Cruden, Anscombe
Red card: Kane Barrett (23 mins, foul play)
Yellow card: Baden Kerr (48 mins, foul play)
Blues: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Francis Saili, 11 Lolagi Visinia, 10 Baden Kerr, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Kane Barrett, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Anthony Boric, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Sam Prattley.
Replacements: 16 James Parsons, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Liaki Moli, 19 Brendon O'Connort, 20 Jamison Gibson-Park, 21 Jackson Willison, 22 Marty McKenzie.
Chiefs: 15 Andrew Horrell, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Tim Nanai-Williams, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Robbie Robinson, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Matt Vant Leven, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke (captain), 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Mahonri Schwalger, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Michael Fitzgerald, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Augustine Pulu, 21 Gareth Anscombe, 22 Asaeli Tikoirotuma.
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Jonathon White (New Zealand), Garrett Williamson (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)
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