The second week of Super Rugby Aotearoa kicks off with the Blues and the Chiefs in Waikato.
With the Chiefs coming off a narrow loss against the Highlanders in last week we can expect the home side to be more clinical in their approach.
With great crowds coming to the ground and support the teams in week 1, we expect more off the same which is great for the sport suffering world wide due to the lockdowns.
The Chiefs are one of the most balanced sides in New Zealand which will make it a difficult prospect for the Blues this weekend. Only a perfect performance will give them the opportunity to get a win over the home side.
With a great pack that dominate most teams, they also have class in their backs that can rip through defences.
A bit unlucky maybe not to get the win last week against the Highlanders after a good comeback in the second half but rugby is a 80 minute + game and you need to put the effort in for the full 80 minutes to win these derbies.
With a impressive win last week the Blues showed that they are an improved side and many people in New Zealand predicting a lot from them in this competition.
The Chiefs fans will be happy to see that Cruden will be running out this week in the number 10 jumper. His vision for the game is a huge benefit and we can expect a much better attacking game from the Chiefs this weekend.
Brad Weber will again captain the side in the absence off Sam Cane who is still struggling with a back injury. Cane also did not future in the match day squad last week.
Naitoa Ah Kuoi will move into the starting lineup as well for this weekend match.
With injuries to to Blake Gibson and Tom Robinson Blues coach Leon MacDonald called up All Blacks Papalii and Akira Ioane to the the starting lineup for this week’s clash.
With Sotutu at eight the Blues have a potent loose forward combinations for this clash.
One off the interesting clashes in this game will certainly be the 10/15 combinations in both teams.
For the Blues you have Otere Black at ten and Barrett at fifteen and for the home side we have Aaron Cruden and Mckenzie.
With great playmakers in both sides we expect a great game off rugga’s this Saturday at the FMG Stadium so do not miss it.
Some Interesting Facts (OPTA)
- The Chiefs have lost only one of their last 17 Super Rugby games against the Blues (W15, D1) and earned a 37-29 win when they met in the opening round of the 2020 Super Rugby season.
- The Chiefs have won their last eight home games on the bounce against the Blues; however, five of those eight wins have been by a margin of seven points or fewer.
- The Chiefs have lost their last two home games in Super Rugby; the last time they lost more home games in succession was a four-game stretch across the 2001 and 2002 campaigns.
- The Chiefs have trailed at half-time in each of their last eight Super Rugby games against New Zealand opposition; although, they have picked up three wins and a draw in that time (L4).
- The Blues have won their last four away games in Super Rugby; a fifth consecutive win on the road would set a new record for the Auckland club.
- The Blues have won their last five Super Rugby games on the bounce; the last time they won more was a seven-game streak in 2011.
- The Chiefs have conceded the opening try of the game in two of their last three Super Rugby games hosting fellow New Zealand opponents; however, they have managed to bounce back and win twice in that span (L1).
- The Blues won 10 turnovers in their opening round clash of Super Rugby Aotearoa, their most in a game since Round 16, 2018 (11 v Rebels); the Auckland side haven’t won more than 10 turnovers in a game against the Chiefs since Round 8, 2015 (11).
- Damian McKenzie (Chiefs) has been directly involved in nine tries in his last nine Super Rugby appearances (3 tries, 6 try assists) and has scored 104 points in that span.
- Rieko Ioane (Blues) has scored three tries in his last three Super Rugby appearances against the Chiefs, including a brace in his most recent game against them.
Prediction: Although the Chiefs are playing at home, the Blues looks like a well balance side with key players playing well. Blues by 6
Chiefs: Damian McKenzie, Shaun Stevenson, Quinn Tupaea, Anton Lienert-Brown, Sean Wainui, Aaron Cruden, Brad Weber, Pita Gus Sowakula, Lachlan Boshier, Luke Jacobson, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Tupou Vaa’l, Nepo Laulala, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Aidan Ross.
Replacements: Bradley Slater, Reuben O’Neill, Ross Geldenhuys, Adam Thomson, Dylan Nel, Lisati Milo-Harris, Kaleb Trask, Solomon Alaimalo.
Blues: Beauden Barrett, Mark Telea, Rieko Ioane, TJ Faiane, Caleb Clarke, Otere Black, Sam Nock, Hoskins Sotutu, Dalton Papali’i, Akira Ioane, Josh Goodhue, Patrick Tuipulotu (c), Ofa Tuungafasi, James Parsons, Alex Hodgman.
Replacements: Kurt Eklund, Marcel Renata, Sione Mafileo, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Tony Lamborn, Finlay Christie, Harry Plummer, Matt Duffie.
****The game will be live on SuperSport on Saturday at 09:00