Super Rugby: Blues v Chiefs Preview

Rugby player dives over the line to score a try.

The Blues and Chiefs will get the third round of Super Rugby underway when they clash at Eden Park on Friday the 2nd of March.

We start another action-packed weekend of Super Rugby with yet another all-Kiwi affair as the Blues take on the Chiefs. Both teams come into this one off the back of opening round defeats with the Blues going down by seven points to the Highlanders and the Chiefs losing to the Crusaders by a rather large 22-point margin.

Blues v Chiefs
Friday 2 March
Eden Park

To Win (80 Mins)
Blues 8/10
Draw 22/1
Chiefs 1/1

Blues (-1.5) 9/10
Chiefs (+1.5) 9/10

How did Umaga's men let that one slip through their grasp? In typical Blues fashion, of course. The Aucklanders let slip a four-point half-time lead slip to go down 41-34 to the Highlanders in a game they really should have won, as they played the better rugby for the majority of the game.

Having gone down to the Highlanders in a rather hauntingly familiar manner, the media have already got their pitchforks out claiming the Blues will once again be Super Rugby's 'Great Pretenders'. I beg to differ - well at least for another few weeks.

Some of the Auckland contingent really put their hands up, Sonny Bill-Williams was immaculate. Young Bryn Gatland looked the real deal at ten, while the Ioanes were their usual devastating selves.  If these big names can sustain the tempo for the entire 80-minutes, then they may well get one over a Chiefs side who were physically abused by the Crusaders last time out.

Much like their opponents for this weekend, the Chiefs come into this one off the back of a game in which they were very much in for the most part. Having worked themselves back into a half-time deficit of just three points - they trailed the Crusaders by 16 points at one stage in the first stanza - the Chiefs conspired to concede four tries, with two of the 'Saders' second-half five-pointers coming from late intercepts.

While the 22 point gap between his side and the Crusaders will have coach Colin Cooper immensely worried, the manner in which his backline failed to fire may just be the new Chiefs coach's biggest concern. Damien McKenzie provided some moments of magic at ten but he also threw a number of wayward passes. The Chiefs centre pairing also looked out of sync, which meant their dangerous back three were forced to go looking for work rather than being fed the ball while in space. 

While the Chiefs will be psychologically scarred from last week's dour showing, they are also suffering physically with Dominic Bird, Tim Nanai-Williams and Charlie Ngati sustaining serious injuries against the 'Saders.

Verdict: Blues 8/10
I'm going to catch a lot of flack for this one but my money is once again on the Blues taking the spoils. The Chiefs really look a side in transition while the Blues just need to add some maturity to their game and they'll become real title contenders.

Written by Darry Worthington for

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