Auckland - Sonny Bill Williams inspired the Chiefs to a 23-18 win over
the Blues on Saturday, the club's eighth straight victory over
their New Zealand rivals.
The Chiefs stunned the Blues with two
tries in the first 15 minutes, both set up by Williams, who is back at
the club this season after two years playing rugby league in Australia.
Blues kept in touch through the boot of Ihaia West, who scored a club
record six penalties, but solid Chiefs defence stopped them crossing the
line in the second half.
"Those two early tries came back to bite us," Blues captain Jerome Kaino said.
"We were better in the second half, did the basics well but the Chiefs just plugged the corners and kept us tryless."
The match began at a furious pace, with Williams in the thick of the action.
the first try, his quick offload released James Lowe down the sideline,
with the winger evading two tacklers to touch down for five points.
second, three minutes later, involved Williams beating three onrushing
defenders to a high ball and setting up rookie winger Bryce Heem for a
try on his Super rugby debut.
The Chiefs went into half-time up
20-9 but managed only a single penalty after the restart as the
much-improved Blues put them on the defensive.
West kept the scoreboard ticking over with three-pointers, narrowing the gap to five points with 10 minutes to go.
had chances but handling errors and some stinging tackles from the
Chiefs saw the Auckland team continue their losing streak.Scorers
Blues - Penalties: Ihaia West (6).
Chiefs - Tries: James Lowe, Bryce Heem. Conversions: Damian McKenzie (2). Penalties: McKenzie (3).
15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Charles Piutau, 13 George Moala/Hamish Northcot, 12 Francis Saili, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Jerome Kaino (captain), 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Substitutes: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Akira Ioane, 20 Luke Braid, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Simon Hickey, 23 Hamish Northcott/Ben Lam
15 Tom Marshall, 14 Tim Nanai-Williams, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 James Lowe, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Maama Vaipulu, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Johan Bardoul, 5 Mike Fitzgerald, 4 Matt Symons (captain), 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Pauliasi Manu
Substitutes: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Jamie Mackintosh, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Michael Allardice, 20 Tevita Koloamatangi, 21 Augustine Pulu, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Bryce Heem