Auckland - Tighthead prop Ben Tameifuna scored two tries to ensure the Chiefs would qualify directly for the semi-finals as they beat the
Auckland Blues 26-16 in their Super Rugby match in which the home side
had one man sent off and another sinbinned.
The 2012 champion
Chiefs had already clinched the New Zealand conference but needed to win
the match to ensure they finished in the top two. The victory moved
them to 66 points and top of the table.
The second-placed Bulls
(63) play the Stormers later on Saturday, where they should know what
they need to do to edge out the third placed Bumbies (59), who face
the lowly Force in Perth beforehand.
The Blues were
bidding farewell to All Blacks trio Ali Williams, Anthony Boric and Rene
Ranger and their intensity illustrated their intention to send them off
on a winning note.
That intensity boiled over, however, when
loose forward Kane Barrett was sent off by referee Chris Pollock in the
23rd minute for rucking Craig Clarke too close to the Chiefs captain's
The Chiefs had been leading 8-3 after flyhalves Baden Kerr
and Aaron Cruden traded penalties before Chiefs inside centre Bundee
Aki crossed when Barrett was dismissed.
The reduction to 14 men
only helped the home side, who took the lead when fullback Charles
Piutau flopped on a clever Kerr grubber kick behind the defensive line.
Chiefs then exploited their numerical advantage with a rolling maul
from an attacking lineout and hooker Hika Elliott barged over.
added a penalty to lock the scores at 13-13 at half-time then he slotted
his third of the game to give the home side a 16-13 lead, but he was
then yellow-carded for a deliberate knockdown shortly after to give the
Chiefs a two-man advantage.
The Chiefs took advantage of the
sinbinning with Tameifuna grabbing his first try from in close, before
he added his second shortly after Kerr returned to give the visitors
their bonus point.
Replacement Gareth Anscombe added a penalty
after the hooter to pad the advantage, which could have been more
comfortable had Cruden not missed all four conversion attempts.
would like to thank the Blues for a pretty intense game. Obviously with
14 men it was going to be a difficult task for you lads and I think you
showed a hell of a lot of pride that you did," Chiefs captain Clarke
said in a pitchside interview.
"We've got bigger things to move on to but we are pretty chuffed (with the win)."Teams: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/Brendon O'Connor, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Kane Barrett, 5 Ali Williams
(captain), 4 Anthony Boric, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Sam
Substitutes: 16 James Parsons, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18
Liaki Moli, 19 O'Connor/Sean Polwart, 20 Jamison Gibson-Park, 21
Jackson Willison, 22 Marty McKenzieChiefs:
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
16 Mahonri Schwalger, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Mike Fitzgerald, 19 Sam
Cane, 20 August Pulu, 21 Gareth Anscombe, 22 Asaeli Tikoirotuma