Super Rugby: Chiefs defeat Blues; Queensland beats ACT
AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) — The Chiefs scored 17 unanswered points at the start of the second half to set up a 27-21 win over the Auckland-based Blues to open the third round of Super Rugby on Friday.
The Chiefs trailed 14-5 during the first half and 14-10 at halftime after the Blues established a small but important early advantage. But tries to flanker Sam Cane and scrumhalf Brad Weber within three minutes shortly after the re-start and a penalty to Damian McKenzie boosted the Blues to a 27-14 lead which they held, under extreme pressure, until the finish.
The Blues cut into the lead with a try to flyhalf Bryn Gatland, who kept a perfect kicking record with three conversions.
The Chiefs’ win was a triumph for a side ravaged by injuries. As many as 15 players are on the injured list and flyhalf Tiaan Falcon didn’t know he would be playing his first Super Rugby match until minutes before the start.
“It’s one of the proudest days to be a Chief,” captain Sam Cane said. “The injuries have been pretty relentless, to be honest.
“We had some young guys come out there today, some of them putting on the jersey for the first time in their first year in Super Rugby and they really just stepped up. It was awesome to see.”
In the only other match Friday, the Queensland Reds beat the ACT Brumbies 18-10. The Reds dominated possession and territory but had only six penalty goals — three from James Tuttle and three from Jono Lance.
The Brumbies scored two tries through halfback Joe Powell in the first half and Isi Naisarani with five minutes remaining.