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Orene Ai'i
The Auckland Blues' Orene Ai’i

Credit: Adam Pretty
ALLSPORT

Auckland left singing the Blues
by Andy McKenzie


The Auckland Blues slumped to their first ever Super 12 defeat to rivals Waikato Chiefs, going down 32-25 in Albany, Australia.

  • The Blues looked to be heading for their second win of the competition when they went 15-0 ahead after less than 10 minutes, but the Chiefs came charging back to secure the slim victory on March 5.

  • A drop goal from the talented Orene Ai’i and tries from Doug Howlett and full back Hayden Taylor gave the Blues the best possible start, as the Chiefs looked nervous and out of sorts in the opening stages.

  • After going close through Eroni Clarke, the Blues appeared to take their foot off the gas and allowed the Chiefs back into the match.

  • Tries from George Leaupepe and Damian Karauna helped the Chiefs get back on level terms, and when Mark Ranby went over to put them ahead it appeared the Blues may have let the game slip.

  • But they also showed the heart for a battle, and Taylor grabbed his second try of the game shortly before the interval to bring them within two points at half-time.

  • The Blues continued to attack after the break, and two minutes into the second half Walter Little went over for a try to put them back into the lead.

  • But a second try for Ranby, following a great interception and run from Glen Jackson, was converted by Jackson to give his side a 29-25 advantage.

  • A late penalty from substitute Loki Crichton gave the Chiefs a seven point lead, and they clung on for a victory that moves them into fourth in the table and ahead of the Blues.
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© 2000 Worldsport Networks Ltd Written by Andy McKenzie

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