Blues win over the Cheifs in Hamilton last month. Photo/Blues (Twitter)
The Blues and Chiefs squared-off Sunday afternoon at Eden Park in a breathtaking clash which the Blues have won 21-17.
The Blues scored a shock 24-12 win over the Chiefs last time the two teams met, finally breaking a nine-year losing streak away to the Chiefs.
Since then the Chiefs have remained winless, although they went achingly close to scoring their first win of the Super Rugby Aotearoa competition last weekend before surrendering a 24-point lead to lose 31-33 at home to the Highlanders.
Despite the loss, the free-flowing scoring of the Chiefs, who had struggled until then to score tries, may well signal that the team is not far away from returning to the powerhouse form they are renown for, if of course they can sort out their defensive issues.
The Blues on the other hand, after going on a three-game winning streak, have lost back to back games against the Crusaders and Hurricanes and dropped from second to third on the table behind the Canes who scored a stunning 34-32 away win over the Crusaders on Saturday night.
Both those losses were away defeats, however. The Blues are so far undefeated at home winning both their games at Eden Park against the Hurricanes and Highlanders.
Blues coach Leon MacDonald told superrugby.co.nz the Chiefs will be a tough challenge despite their 0-5 record coming into this game.
"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."
It’s another Home Advantage, thanks to Jalcon Homes. Will you be a winner this weekend?— The Blues (@BluesRugbyTeam) July 24, 2020
Remember to buy your tickets, head to the game, and follow the instructions on the big screen to go into the draw to win a 55-inch Frame TV!#BLUvCHI #HomeAdvantage pic.twitter.com/GKicKyYmnS
The Blues will be out to secure back-to-back wins against the Chiefs for the first time since 2010/11 in front of an expected crowd of more than 30,000, while the Chiefs will want to avoid the prospect of seven straight losses for the first time in their 24 year super rugby history.
The game kicks off at 3.35pm today at Eden Park.
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 (c), 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, 23 Harry Plummer
Chiefs: 15. Damian McKenzie, 14. Sean Wainui, 13. Anton Lienert-Brown, 12. Alex Nankivell, 11.Solomon Alaimalo, 10. Kaleb Trask, 9. Brad Weber, 8. Pita Gus Sowakula, 7. Sam Cane (c), 6. Lachlan Boshier, 5. Mitchell Brown, 4. Tupou Vaa’i, 3. Nepo Laulala, 2. Bradley Slater, 1. Reuben O’Neill.
Reserves: Samisoni Taukei’aho, Ollie Norris, Ross Geldenhuys, Adam Thomson, Mitchell Karpik, Lisati Milo-Harris, Aaron Cruden, Quinn Tupaea