Blues take last win as Chiefs miss late

The Blues avoided a second straight heartbreaking defeat to start the Super Rugby Pacific season after Chiefs substitute Bryn Gatland missed a long-range penalty to win the game.

The Blues won 24-22 at Eden Park, with Stephen Perofeta converting on the sidelines to clear them after Mark Telea scored a try with five minutes remaining.

After losing by one point to the Hurricanes, who finished early last week, the Blues looked like they had it butchered again when they awarded a penalty in the dying seconds.

A penalty 45 yards out and on an angle gave Gatland the chance for the Chiefs to go 2-0 this season, but he pushed his kick wide.

“I’m speechless right now… you don’t want to know what I was thinking in my head (as Gatland lined up the kick),” Blues captain Dalton Papalii said.

“We talked about winning the little moments, but we made it difficult for ourselves.”

Blues No 12 and former New Zealand rugby league star Roger Tuivasa-Sheck had a brilliant handful of touches but was largely ineffective as Chiefs half-back Brad Weber scored twice in his 100th match.

His first came from nothing, with the No.9 kicking into no man’s land and somehow recovering after two rebounds in traffic and darting out of traffic to score.

And from their next significant play, Etene Nanai-Seturo cut the line to make it 12-3.

The Blues fought back through Caleb Clarke, the winger forced to wait for a long cut pass, but still sent three men to score in the corner.

Hoskins Sotutu brought the Blues back into the competition with a brilliant solo effort, charging a kick then rushing to score.

Weber’s second came out of a scrum before a penalty sent them back five points.

The Blues found a way though as Beauden Barrett returned from a concussion from the bench and fellow All Black Anton Lienert-Brown (shoulder) also returned from a pine injury.

Chiefs and All Blacks captain Sam Cane was a nuisance in the ruck to help his side into a winning kick but admitted they had given the Blues too many chances.

“There’s not much between them (the New Zealand teams); it’s going to come down to little moments in games,” he said.

“It’s about minimizing your own mistakes…and we’ve had a few too many tonight.”

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