The Chiefs have opened their Super Rugby season with a win against the Blues in a close match at QBE Stadium in North Harbour.
The Chiefs played a far better running and attack game than the Blues from the beginning.
Quick passing on the blindside saw the ball sent out to winger James Lowe who tippy toe’d his way down the sideline and backed himself to make the corner, holding the ball and sprinting in for the Chiefs first try.
A brilliant catch by the returning Sonny Bill Williams off a high ball set Bryce Heem up for a runaway try as the Chiefs dotted down for their second and suddenly had a big lead early.
Damian McKenzie had a near perfect first half , landing 4 of his 5 kicks on goal including a shot from near the halfway line out wide.
McKenzie showed the foot skills and speed which got him noticed last year during the U-20 Rugby World Cup, breaking the line on one occasion and nearly slipping through again moments later.
A minor scuffle between McKenzie and Blues midfielder Hamish Northcote handed the Blues a penalty, and Ihaia West was successful as the Blues took full opportunity of the limited chances for points in the first half.
The Chiefs led the Blues 20 – 9 at halftime.
The second half got off to a shaky start for the Chiefs when captain Matt Symons was sin binned for not rolling away, though under controversial circumstances as replays clearly showed due time wasn’t allowed at the breakdown.
The Blues refused to lay down, Ihaia West continuing his perfect night with the boot as he slotted a further 9 points to bring his side back into the game late.
West scored all 18 points for the Blues but it was the two tries to the Chiefs which proved the difference, the full time score 23-18 at QBE Stadium.