The Blues have lost again as the Chiefs remain in good position on the Super Rugby ladder after winning 23-16 in front of over 14,000 on Easter Saturday at Waikato Stadium.
The Blues played positive running rugby early on, but were let off the hook twice in the first ten minutes when Aaron Cruden missed two consecutive penalty shots on goal.
Cruden looked to have injured his left shoulder in a tackle but played on.
Playing most of the game in Blues territory, the Chiefs took the lead in the 18th minute when Cruden slotted the ball through the sticks from out in front.
A brilliant break downfield by Tom Marshall put the Chiefs in space with no Blues defenders back.
Augustine Pulu nearly score the Chiefs first try, but Charles Piutau knocked the ball out of Pulu’s grasp in the goal line.
Damian McKenize clutched at his left leg and was limping badly back at fullback but tried to battle on.
McKenzie appeared to be running a little more freely as time ticked away.
The Chiefs surged downfield again, and James Lowe went in for another try on the season and the Chiefs had a ten-point lead following Cruden’s conversion.
Daniel Bowden put the Blues on the scoreboard when the Chiefs gave away a penalty.
The Chiefs led 10-3 at halftime.
The Blues started the second half by taking the ball to the line hard and with some hot footwork broke downfield and were knocking on the door of the try line but lost the ball.
After McKenzie dropped the ball trying to clear, the Blues had an attacking scrum.
Jerome Kaino broke off the back of the scrum and charged over the line with defenders holding onto him to score a try. With Bowden’s conversion, the Blues were all square 10-10.
The Blues kept surging and were awarded with a penalty.
Dan Bowden made no mistake, putting the Blues into the lead for the first time in the match 13-10.
The Chiefs quickly tied things up again when Cruden kicked a penalty from out in front.
As the Blues continued to mount attack after attack in the Chiefs half, a turnover led to Michael Leitch breaking downfield and he looked like he had the pace to go all the way before the Blues defenders scrambled back.
It took a few phases, and more than a few occasions where the Chiefs had numbers to burn out wide, but the try was scored by Tom Marshall to put the Chiefs back into the lead.
Aaron Cruden increased the lead to ten points when he kicked a long penalty go with time ticking down.
With little over a minute to go, Ihaia West scored three consolation points but the Chiefs held on to the lead as the buzzer sounded to secure a 23-16 win in Hamilton.