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Chiefs too strong for Blues

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Sportal.co.nz     30 Mar 2013     Getty Images

In his first match against his former club, Gareth Anscombe provided 13 points with the boot and converted tries to Richard Kahui and Ben Tameifuna.

However, coach Dave Rennie will be less than pleased with his team's performance and will no doubt have plenty to discuss next week as more than six try-scoring opportunities went begging in the first half alone.

In the end the New Zealand conference leaders secured four competition points that lifted them seven clear of the trailing Hurricanes.

Blues coach John Kirwan will mull over the third consecutive game where his men failed to fire.

The expansive performances that saw them topple the Hurricanes and the Crusaders in the opening rounds are fast becoming distant memories.

Rennie would have felt a lot more comfortable if referee Jonathan Kaplan's interpretation at the breakdown had deemed Craig Clarke's turnover to be legal.

The ensuing counter attack saw Anscombe breeze over the goal line only to be called back for the earlier infringement.

That would have been the best possible result after second-five Bundee Aki was sin-binned for a tip tackle on Rene Ranger in the seventh minute.

Instead it was the visitors who enjoyed the rub of the green and one minute later Chris Noakes drew first blood with the opening penalty.

The Chiefs were given ample possession and opportunities to hit back but will rue their poor execution.

A Masaga chip kick in the Blues 22 amounted to nothing when he was taken out off the ball. His next chance saw him drop the ball inches from the line.

Making his first start of the season, Kahui was a dominant force in the midfield and pierced the Blues defence on a number of occasions. But when his first chance came, the supporting Aaron Cruden received the ball and was called for obstruction.

Anscombe got the ball rolling with three unanswered penalties before Noakes cut the deficit to three with his second shortly before half-time.

The second spell was filled with yet more opportunities that went begging.

But the Chiefs were finally able to build pressure, albeit for a short period, and Tameifuna muscled his way over for five points.

Noakes replied for the Blues with another penalty but that was negated shortly after when Kahui charged down a Francis Saili clearing kick before re-taking the ball to score under the posts.

Down but not out, the Blues would not go down without a fight and wing George Moala ensured they had the last say when he scored three minutes from time.

Chiefs: 23
Tries: Tameifuna, Kahui
Cons: Anscombe 2
Pens: Anscombe 3

Blues: 16
Tries: Moala
Cons: Kerr
Pens: Noakes 3