Relief for Blues who held on at Eden Park

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It all came down to a last-minute penalty goal attempt for Chiefs replacement five-eighths Bryn Gatland.


Knowing Gatland's success rate was high, Blues coach Leon MacDonald had all but conceded a second last-minute loss from two starts in DHL Super Rugby Pacific.


"I haven't seen him miss many. I assumed it was as good as done," he said.


But Gatland missed, and while the Blues took a win, MacDonald said it was a hollow feeling.


"We're happier with the result. We played a lot better last week and got a loss. That's the competition we're in. It's tight, and every week there are going to be fine margins," he said.


However, they will await the outcome of a scan on a shoulder injury suffered by second five-eighths Roger Tuivasa-Sheck when he landed on the shoulder in a tackle. Also out for several weeks after a partial dislocation of his shoulder is five-eighths Harry Plummer.


"We did well to scrap away and hang in there. We didn't get any flow to our game which was disappointing because we want to use the ball. They came really hard at the breakdown and got rewards there, and I thought we did a pretty good job at times. It was a real arm-wrestle and there are a few sore bodies today," MacDonald said.


"It's sort of a hollow feeling when you win, but we'll take it because last week we didn't get that rub of the green.



"We'll take any win. It's a tough competition, and we just want to make sure we do better next week," he said.


Fullback Stephen Perofeta was one player whose stocks rose after his play to put wing Mark Telea in for the equalising try in the corner and then landed a superb conversion to secure the win.


"It was a massive kick from Stevie. I thought he was fantastic at fullback," he said.


All Black Beauden Barrett returned at halftime, and MacDonald was relieved to see him settle into his first five-eighths role quickly.


"He showed some nice composure, his little touches were nice, and his line kicks were fantastic. It's been a while since he donned the boots in anger, and he'll be happy to get 40 minutes under his belt," he said.


MacDonald said while not all was rosy with the execution in the game, there were long periods of defence where their systems worked, and while the game was not as fast-flowing as their first, the breakdown and defence work was pleasing.


"Discipline ultimately cost us a little bit at the end of this game, and kept them on the front foot which is something we have to address," he said.


Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan said Gatland's missed penalty that could have won the game was not why they lost.


"We had plenty of opportunities beforehand to put that game away. We did a lot of good stuff, and were just a little inaccurate at crucial times when, had we capitalised on those, we might not have found ourselves in that situation. It's no slight on Bryn," McMillan said.


The prize of a win for halfback Brad Weber, in his 100th game, was not achieved, but that didn't diminish his game.


"He had some great moments today. It was his first decent hit out. His lungs probably caught up with him, but I couldn't be prouder of the guy," he said.


Captain Sam Cane was frustrated with the Chiefs' inaccuracies.


"There are small margins between the Kiwi teams. We made a few too many mistakes and as a result we came out on the wrong side," he said.



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