Vodacom Super 14
Blues see off Chiefs
Two-try hero (Gallo Images)
Auckland - The Blues ended off their season on a high by beating a game Chiefs side 30-20 in an error-ridden game at Eden Park.
The game won’t however, be remembered as a classic as while both sides were dead keen on playing attacking rugby, the error rate was way too high for the game to achieve the flow it promised.
In a forgettable start which only served to remind us all of the untapped promise of both teams, but also the reasons why their season was ending without triumph, more than 30 errors in the first 24 minutes of the game put paid to what was a sensational opening.
Both teams looked to run the ball, but critical mistakes at crucial times left the scoreline untouched for that period, until Blues fullback Paul Williams eventually broke the deadlock by finishing off a move in the corner for the opening try.
The Chiefs, ripped apart by injuries to their most creative players, were kept in the game by the boot of Trent Renata, but it was the Blues who did most of the play. Benson Stanley took them into the break 12-6 up after he started a move with a linebreak and finished it by popping up on the outside and running in untouched with four players on his outside.
Halfback Albie Matthewson extended the lead early in the second half when he broke from the back of a 5m scrum and ducked under a tackle to go over from close range. Stephen Brett, after a horrible miss first out, took the lead to 20-7 with a penalty shortly afterwards.
The Chiefs hit back with an excellent worked try to rumble up to the line and captain Liam Messam claimed one back by running in untouched, although the Blues vehemently protested that referee Paul Marks impeded the defender. But with the Chiefs hoping they would be able to get back into the game, it was left to speedster Rudi Wulf to put the game beyond doubt with a brace of tries that eventually sealed the game.
Wulf received the ball on both occasions in space on the wing, and thundered towards the tryline, the first crashing over in a pile of bodies which needed TMO confirmation and the second with a sly step to outfox a desperate Tim Nanai-Williams and go over in the corner.
With the game settled, Sevens star Save Tokula grabbed one back for the Chiefs to make the scoreline look more respectable, but it wasn’t enough. Scorers:
Tries: Alby Mathewson, Benson Stanley, Paul Williams, Rudi Wulf (2).
Conversion: Stephen Brett.
Penalties Stephen Brett
Tries: Liam Messam, Save Tokula
Conversions: Trent Renata (2)
Penalties: Trent Renata (2).Teams:
15. Paul Williams, 14. Joe Rokocoko, 13. Rene Ranger , 12. Benson Stanley, 11. Rudi Wulf, 10. Stephen Brett, 9. Alby Mathewson, 8. Viliami Ma’afu, 7. Serge Lilo, 6. Jerome Kaino/Peter Saili, 5. Anthony Boric, 4. Kurtis Haiu, 3. John Afoa, 2. Keven Mealamu, 1. Tony Woodcock
Substitutes: 16. Tom McCartney, 17. Charlie Faumuina, 18. Filo Paulo, 19. Tom Chamberlain, 20. Chris Smylie, 21. Daniel Kirkpatrick, 22. George Pisi
15. Tim Nanai-Williams, 14. Save Tokula, 13. Jackson Willison, 12. Phil Burleigh, 11. Jason Hona, 10. Trent Renata, 9. Brendon Leonard, 8. Colin Bourke, 7. Tanerau Latimer, 6. Liam Messam (captain), 5. Culum Retallick, 4. Craig Clarke, 3. Ben Afeaki, 2. Aled de Malmanche, 1. Toby Smith
Substitutes: 16. Hika Elliot, 17. Tristan Moran, 18. Kevin O’Neill, 19. Luke Braid 20. Junior Poluleuligaga, 21. Siale Piutau, 22. Tim Mikkelson