Match Details: Saturday 27 March, 7:05pm, FMG Stadium Waikato
Referee: James Doleman
Won: Chiefs 21, Blues 13, 1 draw
Last match: Blues 21 Chiefs 17 at Eden Park on 26 July 2020
Watch: Sky Sport 1 in New Zealand & overseas broadcast information HERE.
MILESTONES FOR TUUNGAFASI & WAINUI
It will be a huge occasion for Ofa Tuungafasi and his family as he gets set to bring up his 100th game for the Blues on Saturday night. The All Blacks prop will become the eighth Blues player to reach the milestone. The 28 year-old will come off the bench after the citing against him was dropped by the judiciary, following a yellow card in the clash with the Crusaders last weekend. Tuungafasi made his Blues debut in 2013 against the Hurricanes and has become a mainstay in the Blues side since. The Chiefs will celebrate the 50-game milestone for Māori All Black Sean Wainui. He’ll start on the left wing, having made his Chiefs debut in 2018 against the Crusaders.
HISTORY OF THE MATCH-UP
These two sides have battled it out 35 times since their first ever match on the 20th of April 1996. In that game the Blues came out on top 39-31. The Chiefs have gone onto win 21 games, the Blues 13 and they’ve had one draw. While the overall history is heavily in favour of the Chiefs, it’s the Blues who have won three of their last four games against each other.
PAPALII READY TO TAKE OPPORTUNITY
Last week proved to be a frustrating one for Dalton Papalii. Unable to feature in the much-anticipated clash with the Crusaders due to ongoing concussion issues. But he’s been cleared to play and is rearing to go this weekend, where he will match up with All Blacks skipper Sam Cane. Papalii said the lessons learned from the Crusaders’ loss was around their breakdown work, and their penalties conceded. He said the need to be far more physical at the breakdown and they’ll look to bring that against the Chiefs in Hamilton.
The Blues have won three of their last four Super Rugby games against the Chiefs, including their last two on the bounce.
The Chiefs have conceded just nine turnovers per game this season, the fewest of any team in the competition.
Gallagher Chiefs: 1. Aidan Ross 2. Samisoni Taukei’aho 3. Angus Ta’avao 4. Samipeni Finau 5. Naitoa Ah Kuoi 6. Mitchell Brown 7. Sam Cane (cc) 8. Luke Jacobson 9. Brad Weber (cc) 10. Kaleb Trask 11. Sean Wainui 12. Quinn Tupaea 13. Anton Lienert-Brown 14. Shaun Stevenson 15. Damian McKenzie
Reserves: 16. Bradley Slater 17. Ollie Norris 18. Reuben O’Neill 19. Simon Parker 20. Pita Gus Sowakula 21. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi 22. Alex Nankivell 23. Chase Tiatia
Blues: 1. Alex Hodgman 2. Luteru Tolai 3. Nepo Laulala 4. Patrick Tuipulotu © 5. Josh Goodhue 6. Akira Ioane 7. Dalton Papalii 8. Hoskins Sotutu 9. Finlay Christie 10. Otere Black 11. Caleb Clarke 12. Harry Plummer 13. Rieko Ioane 14. Mark Telea 15. Stephen Perofeta
Reserves: 16. Leni Apisai 17. Karl Tu’inukuafe 18. Ofa Tuungafasi 19. Gerard Cowley-Tuioti 20. Tom Robinson 21. Adrian Choat 22. Jonathan Ruru 23. TJ Faiane