Blues hold off Chiefs as McKenzie returns
PRE-SEASON REPORT: The Blues survived a second-half fightback from the Chiefs to record a 26-19 victory in their pre-season match in Waihi.
Despite the defeat, the good news for the Chiefs is that Damian McKenzie made a successful return from his long-term injury and looked dangerous with ball in hand.
McKenzie got through his 20 minutes unscathed is what was a big boost for new Chiefs head coach Warren Gatland.
The Blues outscored their opponents by four tries to three and they were in a comfortable position at half-time with a 19-0 lead.
Kurt Eklund opened the scoring for the Blues with a try before Ezekiel Lindenmuth and Matt Duffie added to the tally with tries of their own.
Stephen Perofeta converted two of the three tries.
It was a better performance from the Chiefs in the second half as they scored three tries. However, a try from Hoskins Sotutu ensured that victory went to the Blues.
Action shots from today’s game! Try scorers: Kurt Eklund, Ezekiel Lindenmuth, Matt Duffie and Hoskins Sotutu.
— The Blues (@BluesRugbyTeam) January 17, 2020
Tries: Eklund, Lindenmuth, Duffie, Sotutu
Cons: Perofeta 2, Plummer
Tries: Taukei’aho 2, Kuoi tries
Cons: Trask 2
Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Sean Wainui, 13 Quinn Tupaea, 12 Tumua Manu, 11 Shaun Stevenson, 10 Kaleb Trask, 9 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 8 Pita Gus Sowakula, 7 Mitchell Karpik, 6 Mitchell Brown, 5 Tyler Ardron, 4 Laghlan McWhannell, 3 Reuben O’Neill, 2 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 1 Ryan Coxon.
Replacements – from: Bradley Slater, Ollie Norris, Ross Geldenhuys, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Lachlan Boshier, Lisati Milo-Harris, Orbyn Ledger, Solomon Alaimalo, Tiaan Falcon, Leroy Carter, James Thompson, Tupou Vaa’i, Aidan Ross, Simon Parker, Josh Lord, Donald Maka, Bailyn Sullivan, Dylan Nel, Robb Cobb, Alex Nankivell.
Blues: 15 Matt Duffie, 14 Mark Telea, 13 Tamati Tua, 12 TJ Faiane (captain), 11 A J Lam, 10 Otere Black, 9 Jonathan Ruru, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Waimana Riedlinger-Kapa, 5 James Tucker, 4 Jacob Pierce, 3 Marcel Renata, 2 Kurt Eklund, 1 Alex Hodgman.
Replacements – from: Ezekiel Lindenmuth, Tevita Mafileo, Ray Niuia, Luteru Tolai/ Soane Vikena, Sam Caird, Aaron Carroll, Josh Goodhue, Dalton Papalii, Tom Robinson, Tony Lamborn, Hoskins Sotutu, Sam Nock, Lewis Gjaltema, Stephen Perofeta, Jordan Hyland, Harry Plummer, Tanielu Tele’a, Joe Marchant, Emoni Narawa, Zarn Sullivan.
Referee: Dan Waenga
Source: NZ Herald