Blues beat Chiefs, Highlanders thrash Crusaders

February 16, 2024 3:48 pm


The Blues big guns fired up in the second half of their final Super Rugby Pacific pre-season clash with the Chiefs to send their team into the real scene with a decided spring in their step.

In warm, sunny conditions at Onewa Domain in Takapuna, the Chiefs had much the better of the first 40 minutes in a hitout largely between the back-up brigades of the clubs, taking a 17-12 lead into the break.

But it was the Blues, with their All Blacks prominent, who dominated the second 40 to ease to a 14-point victory.

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All Blacks wing sensation Mark Tele’a looked sharp as he grabbed a brace of tries, while on the other wing a slimmed-down Caleb Clarke continued his promising pre-season form with a couple of trademark blockbusting runs, including a 50m runaway to seal the deal.

The Blues forwards had the better of the upfront battle over the second 40, and that enough to give their speedy backs the ball they needed to stamp their mark on proceedings.

Both coaches were happy with the manner in which their teams wrapped up the preparatory phase, though Blues mentor Vern Cotter wore the wider smile after his side finished their pre-season with three wins from three outings.

Most importantly, both sides survived the hitout without any major injury problems.

Highlanders complete pre-season with big win over depleted Crusaders


At Methven Recreational Reserve: Highlanders 41 (Sean Withy, Sam Gilbert, Jona Nareki, Folau Fakatava, Oliver Haig, Nathan Hastie tries; Gilbert 3 con, pen, Rhys Patchell con) Crusaders 14 (Jack Gray, Antonio Shalfoon tries; Taine Robinson 2 con). HT: 22-0