Blues do it the hard way in Perth

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Lynn McConnell     21 May 2016     Getty Images

Up 17-3 at half-time, the Blues conceded too many penalties for comfort, and two yellow cards, while the home side got the wind in their sails to score 10 points and were pressuring in the final stages, several times eschewing kicks at goal for lineouts in the corner.

But that was where the Blues defence paid out as the desire to avoid what would have been an embarrassing loss. No.8 Steven Luatua had a big game in the defensive effort while flanker Jerome Kaino, hooker James Parsons and flanker Tanerau Latimer were prominent in the staunchness of the defence.

The home team made a strong start but only came up with three points from an Ian Prior penalty goal.

Blues first five-eighths Ihaia West soon responded to that with one of his own.

It took time for the Blues to find their cohesion but poor Force kick-chase saw wing Matt Duffie bring the ball back and in the follow-up strong runs were made by Luatua and halfback Billy Guyton took play into the Force 22m area.

Several strong surges were made at the line and finally it was Kaino who crashed over beside the goalposts for the opening try in the 25th minute.

A Force turnover on the left flank was quickly switched by the Blues to the right. Centre George Moala punched a hole through the defence and then flicked a perfect pass to Latimer who in turn found wing Tevita Li. He beat fullback Dane Haylett-Petty, one of the Force's more prominent performer, on the inside and then cleared out for the try.

Faumuina was sin-binned moments before half-time and the Blues spent the first 10 minutes of the second half holding out a determined Force assault on their line. It worked until, ironically, until Faumuina returned only to see home captain and flanker Matt Hodgson cross after halfback Alby Mathewson took a quick tap five metres out from the Blues line.

Moments earlier the Force had a try denied to second five-eighths Kyle Godwin after wing Marcel Brache obstructed a Blues defender.

When centre Ben Tapuai followed his conversion with a penalty goal in the 63 minute it got the Force within four points.

The Force absorbed a Blues offensive but dropped ball when lock Patrick Tuipulotu lost it proved costly and the Force were able to clear downfield. But they secured the ball at a lineout maul and looked to have cleared the line.

However, the penalties continued against them and when replacement prop Nic Mayhew knocked down a transfer to the halfback, he was sin-binned with three minutes remaining.

Although they committed yet another penalty which gave the Force a chance for a lineout drive, they lost the ball and the Blues won a last scrum which because of a concussion on prop Ofa Tu'ugafasi and Mayhew's sin-binning was an uncontestable scrum which ended the game.

Scorers: Force 13 (Matt Hodgson try, Ian Prior pen; Ben Tapuai con, pen) Chiefs 17 (Jerome Kaino, Tevita Li tries; Ihaia West 2 con, pen). HT: 3-17