The Chiefs rule in Rotorua

By Peter White

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FULL-TIME UPDATE:

The Chiefs beat the Blues by 43-19 in an entertaining Super Rugby warm-up game at Rotorua's International Stadium on Friday night.

The Chiefs struck first after 10 minutes when hooker Rhys Marshall was driven over from five metres out. Star input Benji Marshall promptly kicked out on the full with a wobbly old drop kick and then missed touch from a penalty in a messy first half performance.

Local Rotorua boy Liam Messam swept in for a sharply taken try after 20 minutes against a decidedly shaky looking Blues side. Bay of Plenty's current All Black Sam Cane showed he has lost none of his agility or pace as he burst away to score a fine individual try.

Up 21-0, Tim Nanai-Williams and Cane combined to open up the Blues defence but the final pass went astray. Cane was injured in the move and had to be helped from the field with left ankle and knee concerns.

The Blues fought back with two tries to All Black Charles Piutau in short succession as they finally got some ball to play with before the break.

Steamers highly rated No 8 Carl Axtens came on at the start of the second against the Blues loose forwards, including team captain and former Steamers favourite Luke Braid.

Nick Crosswell slid over for the opening try of the half for the Chiefs after 45 minutes. Cruden continued his perfect kicking record to stretch the lead out to 31-12.

The Blues replaced the erratic Benji Marshall with Steamers first-five Chris Noakes, in his second game back after 10 months out with a neck injury. But he could not stop big Taman winger James Lowe crashing over for another fine team try. Robbie Fruean scored two minutes later after an impressive bust from Lowe.

Rangiuru youngster Elijah Nicholas got a late run for the Chiefs.

Chiefs 43 (Rhys Marshall, Liam Messam, Sam Cane, Nick Crosswell, James Lowe, Robbie Fruean tries; Aaron Cruden 5 cons, pen)

Blues 19 (Charles Piutau 2, Jackson Willison tries; Benji Marshall con; Chris Noakes con)
Halftime: Chiefs 24-12

HALF-TIME REPORT: The Chiefs lead the Blues by 24-12 after an entertaining first half in a Super Rugby warm-up game at Rotorua's International Stadium on Friday night.

The Chiefs struck first after 10 minutes when hooker Rhys Marshall was driven over from five metres out. Star input Benji Marshall promptly kicked out on the full with a wobbly old drop kick and then missed touch from a penalty in a messy first half performance for the new Blues man.

Local Rotorua boy Liam Messam swept in for a sharply taken try after 20 minutes against a decidedly shaky looking Blues side. Bay of Plenty's current All Black Sam Cane showed he has lost none of his agility or pace as he burst away to score a fine individual try.

Up 21-0, Tim Nanai-Williams and Cane combined to open up the Blues defence but the final pass went astray. Cane was injured in the move and had to be helped from the field with a sprained left ankle.

The Blues fought back with two tries to All Black Charles Piutau in short succession as they finally got some ball to play with before the break.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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