Lowe, Mar­shal score as Chiefs beat Blues 23-16 in Su­per Rugby

The China Post - - SPORTS -

Wingers James Lowe and Tom Mar­shall scored tries as the Chiefs beat the Blues 23-16 in Su­per Rugby on Satur­day, stretch­ing their op­po­nent’s los­ing start to the sea­son to seven games.

Lowe’s 28th-minute try gave the Hamil­ton-based Chiefs a 10-3 half­time lead and Mar­shall’s try in the 67th minute clinched the win af­ter the Blues had ral­lied to lead 13-10 af­ter 52 min­utes.

Re­place­ment fly­half Ihaia West kicked a penalty af­ter the full­time siren to earn the Blues a con­so­la­tion bonus point.

The Chiefs im­proved their record for the sea­son to 6-2, mov­ing into sec­ond place be­hind the un­beaten Hur­ri­canes and stretch­ing their win­ning streak over the Auck­land- based Blues to nine games.

The Blues paid for a lack of dis­ci­pline in a first half spat­tered with penal­ties in which the Chiefs gained a small mea­sure of con­trol. They con­ceded turnovers and strug­gled to get out of their own half, al­low­ing the Chiefs to build pres­sure.

That pres­sure fi­nally told with Lowe’s try which came af­ter the Chiefs had re­tained pos­ses­sion through 12 phases af­ter a li­ne­out. Lowe hit the line at pace to score un­der the posts and to give fly­half Aaron Cru­den an easy con­ver­sion. Cru­den kicked two con­ver­sions and three penal­ties for 13 points.

The Blues had their best pe­riod of play this sea­son im­me­di­ately af­ter half­time, build­ing to­wards a 46th-minute try to their cap­tain Jerome Kaino which, with Dan Bow­den’s con­ver­sion, tied the scores at 10-10.

A penalty to Bow­den soon af­ter gave the Blues a rare lead at 13-10 but the Chiefs showed dis­ci­pline and de­ter­mi­na­tion to first tie the scores with a Cru­den penalty, then snatch the match with Mar­shall’s try.

Back­rower

Michael

Leitch helped the Chiefs to break out of de­fense and they again cre­ated pres­sure from which Mar­shall scored with Lowe in sup­port. Cru­den’s con­ver­sion and 73rd minute penalty gave the Chiefs a 10-point lead and seemed likely to deny the Blues even a bonus point un­til Wests’ goal in stop­page time.

“We knew it was go­ing to be a tough time,” Chiefs cap­tain Liam Mes­sam said. “This is a qual­ity Blues side and Chiefs-Blues matches are al­ways tough, it doesn’t mat­ter what your record is.”

Blues cap­tain Jerome Kaino said his team had again al­lowed scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to slip through their fin­gers.

“I think in the first half there we had our op­por­tu­ni­ties but dis­ci­pline re­ally let us down,” he said. “We weren’t able to play in the right side of the park.

“But the boys showed a lot of heart and we were in it right to the end.”

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