The Blues have the Chiefs this weekend at home in a must win for both sides who are dwelling at the bottom of the log at this stage.
The Chiefs are coming off a good win over the Sharks and will want to keep that improvement going as they going into the last straight of the season.
For the Blues it is almost the same as they are back at home again this weekend and although their record against New Zealand sides have not been great the last couple of years, they do have a team that can take this Chiefs side.
Parsons returns to the starting line-up with Tu’inukuafe and Ofa Tuungafasi looking to improve their set pieces.
Tuipulotu will start with Goodhue who impressed last week. Papalii, Gibson and Akira Ioane will make up the pack.
Rieko Ioane returns to the wing this week with Tele’a also back this week after his suspension.
The Chiefs received a huge boost withe the news that Sam Cane is fit and ready.
The All Black makes his return to the game after seven months on the sideline after he suffered a broken neck against the Springboks last year.
His team and supporters will be hoping that he will have an impact from the bench as they try to get into the playoffs.
Ross also returns to the bench from another neck injury which is some more good news for the Chiefs.
They will be without Luke Jacobson who suffered a head knock against the Blues. Boshier has also not recover from his back injury and will not be available.
Tyler Ardron will be back at to No 8 in place of Jacobson, with Jesse Parete moving from blindside to the second row.
Pita Gus Sowakula was promoted to start in the No 6 jersey.
The other changes in the pack we see Ta’avao at tight head.
The backline remains unchanged, with Brad Weber to continue to captain the side from halfback.
With so much at stake we can be assured that this is going to be a cracker.
Some Interesting Facts (OPTA)
- The Chiefs are undefeated in their last 15 games against the Blues in Super Rugby (W14, D1); winning their last three clashes against the Auckland side.
- The Blues have won just two of their last 35 Super Rugby fixtures against opposition from New Zealand (D1, L32), both victories in that spell coming against the Highlanders.
- The Chiefs are winless in their last four New Zealand derbies away from home (D1, L3), they haven’t won such a fixture in Super Rugby since June 2018.
- The Blues have won four of their last five home games in Super Rugby (L1), only once in that time was the fulltime margin greater than 10 points.
- The Chiefs have won just two of their last seven games away from home in Super Rugby (D1, L4), having led by double-digits at half-time in each of those wins.
- The Blues have scored three tries or more in six of their last seven home games in Super Rugby, after having done so just once in five games prior.
- The Blues have the best scrum success rate in Super Rugby 2019 (97%), five percentage points higher than the Chiefs (92%).
- The Chiefs average the most offloads per-game in Super Rugby 2019 (13), three more than the Blues (10).
- The Chiefs have scored 110 points in the second quarter of matches in Super Rugby 2019, the most of any team in the competition and 60 more than the Blues (50).
- Rieko Ioane (Blues) has made the second most clean breaks (23) of any player in Super Rugby 2019, one behind overall leader Sevu Reece (24) and seven more than Chiefs’ best Tumua Manu (16).
Prediction: One of those difficult one’s, the Chiefs have shown some great improvement but the Blues are at home, we going with the Chiefs by 7
Blues: 15 Melani Nanai, 14 Caleb Clarke, 13 TJ Faiane, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Harry Plummer, 9 Jonathan Ruru, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson (co-captain), 6 Dalton Papalii, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu (co-captain), 3 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 2 James Parsons, 1 Alex Hodgman
Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Lua Li, 18 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 19 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 20 Tom Robinson, 21 Augustine Pulu, 22 Otere Black, 23 Matt Duffie
Chiefs: 15 Solomon Alaimalo, 14 Sean Wainui, 13 Tumua Manu, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Etene Nanai-Seturo, 10 Marty McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber (captain), 8 Tyler Ardron, 7 Mitchell Karpik, 6 Pita Gus Sowakula, 5 Mitchell Brown, 4 Jesse Parete, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Atu Moli
Replacements: 16 Liam Polwart, 17 Aidan Ross, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Mitchell Jacobson, 20 Sam Cane, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Shaun Stevenson, 23 Alex Nankivell