theblues.co.nz and James Mortimer 11.Mar.2013Photosport
There were impressive performances right across the pack, none more so than returning lock Anthony Boric who got through 65 minutes of work and scored two tries for his efforts.
It was the visitors that got off to an exciting start, reclaiming their own kick off and going within metres of the try line only to knock the ball on.
Asserting all the early pressure, the Chiefs turned it into points by way of a Thomas Bird penalty.
It seemed to be the wake up call the Blues needed, because as Boric claimed the kick off the Blues played with a renewed vigour.
Aggressive on defence and exciting on attack, the breaks were coming from everywhere, in particular rangy lock Patrick Tuipolotu who seemed to pick holes in the defensive line with ease.
Former Chiefs back Jackson Willison was strong for his new team, punting the ball through the Chiefs defence - their fullback was forced to run it into touch.
From there, Tuipolotu collected the line out ball and helped to form a rolling maul towards the line, resulting in a Sean Polwart try and a 5-3 lead.
The Blues showed a lot of patience as they controlled the majority of possession and worked to wear down the Chiefs defence.
First five-eighths Cody Rei extended the lead with a penalty midway through the first spell before the Chiefs defence finally lapsed.
Despite being in handy kicking position the Blues opted to kick for a line out after a Chiefs penalty and it paid off, after countless phases hitting the line, nuggety hooker Gafatasi Su’a found the try line.
The remainder of the half saw the Chiefs control both possession and territory but a dogged determination on defence seemed to be holding them out.
Fleet footwork from Chiefs winger Tino Nemani fooled the defence for the visitors’ first try of the match, and closed the score line to 13-10.
With the clock ticking down the Chiefs were pounding at the Blues try line but could find no way over. It wasn’t until they spread the ball to the backline and Save Tokula was able to dance through the defence and under the posts for a try, taking the half time lead 17-3.
No doubt disappointed to have conceded the late try the Blues came out firing in the second stanza, captain Joe Edwards crashing over the try line within a minute of the whistle blowing.
With the lead restored, the Blues went about extending it, firstly through a Rei penalty before Boric powered over for the first of his two tries.
Malakai Fekitoa and Bryn Hall linked in the midfield, Hall bringing the ball close to the line and with Boric in support the points were scored.
For his second, Boric pounced on a Chiefs clearing kick that was charged down to score in a similar position.
Jake Heenan completed the scoring for the Blues after yet another impressive, patient forward effort close to the line.
The Chiefs picked up two late tries to close the score line somewhat but the 42-29 victory will be celebrated as dominant performance for the Blues.