The Rugby season opener produces-
Match of the round: The season opener produces a Chiefs-
The 25th Super Rugby Season began on Friday night at Eden Park, Auckland. The two Bombays, the Blues, and the Chiefs were looking to start their season on a high. Every time the Blues looked like they were running away with the game, the Chiefs kept coming back, held their nerve, and got the desired result.
However, the Chiefs were trailing for most of the game. The Blues got off to an absolute flyer and dominated the opening 25 minutes. Leon MacDonald’s side was relentless and enjoyed over 90% of the possession and territory for the first 10 minutes of the game. The constant attack pressured the Chiefs defense as Warren Gatland’s side made 47 tackles in 10 minutes.
Stephen Perofeta missed a penalty. However, moments later, Tony Lamborn scored the first try of the Super Rugby season.
Thomas Faiane started the line break, which led to the Lamborn’s try in the 16th minute. Eleven minutes later, All Blacks winger, Rieko Ioane, scored the first of his two 1st half tries.
The winger collected an inside pass from Jonathan Ruru and went straight through the gap between two defenders off an attacking Blues scrum. Steven Perofeta converted the try to take the lead to 12-0. Samisoni Taukei’aho scored the Chief’s first try for the season in the 35th minute.
Ioane scored his 2nd try of the half combining with Faiane and Ruru to go over the chalk after the half-time siren. Steven Perofeta converted the try.
In the 45th minute, Samisoni Taukei’aho scored his 2nd try of the match after the Chiefs set up a maul and powered their way over the try line. Aaron Cruden, who played his first game for the chiefs since 2017, converted the try.
New Chiefs coach and former Welsh coach, Warren Gatland, brought Cruden on after half-time, which proved to be a masterstroke for the Hamilton-based squad.
Pita Sowakula crashed over from the short-range to score a try in the 50th minute. Cruden again converted the try.
The scores were level for the first time in the game at 19-all. Blues prop Karl Tu’inukuafe scored the Blues 4th try to help them regain the lead in the 56th minute. Steven Perofeta converted the try.
Aiden Ross scored the Chiefs 4th try to help them level the scores again in the 64th minute. Cruden converted the try back.
The Chiefs took the lead in the 68th minute when Solomon Alaimalo crossed over for the visitors. Cruden converted the try. Six minutes later, Aaron Cruden slotted a vital drop goal for the Chiefs.
Harry Plummer converted a penalty in the 77th minute, but it was too late for the Blues. Cruden converted a penalty in the 80th minute to give the Chiefs the win. No.8. Hoskins Sotutu played well, making 12 carries for 97 meters. Sotutu also beat five defenders, made two clean breaks, ten passes, three offloads, and seven tackles for the game.
Another star performer for the Blues was the left-winger, Rieko Ioane. The All Blacks star scored two tries, made seven carries for 32 meters, beat six defenders, and made two clean breaks. He also made four passes and one tackle for the game.
For the Chiefs, Solomon Alaimalo scored one try, made eight carries for 70 meters, beat two defenders, and made two clean breaks and two passes. He made two offloads and five tackles. The returning Aaron Cruden. Made eight carries for 50 meters, beat two defenders, made two clean breaks, four passes, one offload, and five tackles for the game.
Cruden was excellent with the boot, and he slotted three conversions, one long-range penalty, and a drop goal. Cruden did this while coming from the bench after half-time. All Black center, Anton Lienert-Brown made eight carries for 50 meters, beat two defenders, made two clean breaks four passes, an offload, and six tackles for the game.