The Blues were handed a master class in how to play wet weather rugby on Friday night as they were smashed 29-14 by the Chiefs at Waikato Stadium.
Despite holding the Chiefs scoreless in the second half, the damage had already been inflicted in the opening stanza as the under-strength Chiefs blitzed their northern neighbours in a scintillating first half to secure their bonus point win before the break.
In the wake of the Blues’ narrow 18-19 loss to the Crusaders last week, head coach Pat Lam made just one injury enforced change to his side in the belief they would atone for their errors in the season opener, but how wrong he was proved as the Blues failed to fire a shot.
While the Chiefs handled the wet weather with ease, the Blues were their own worst enemies, losing the ball in contact, slipping off tackles, lacking any urgency or cohesion and never really threatening their opponents.
The Chiefs’ glamour midfield combination of Sonny Bill Williams and Richard Kahui had hogged the headlines in the lead up to the match, but it was halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow who shone the brightest along with fullback Robbie Robinson and wing Tim Nanai-Williams.
Together they made huge inroads into the Blues defence and created three tries in 13 minutes.
It took just four minutes for the Chiefs to open their account as bullocking prop Sona Taumalolo crashed over from close range following a rolling maul.
Blues first five-eighths Michael Hobbs managed to peg back the score to 10-6 with two penalty goals, but that was as far as the visitors got in the opening stanza as the Chiefs piled on 19 unanswered points.
Chiefs fullback Robbie Robinson was full of running and punished a lacklustre Blues kick-chase, carving up the opposition defence with worrying ease and putting away wing Asaeli Tikoirotuma for a try in the corner.
Watching his back three partners combining for the try, wing Tim Nanai-Williams was keen to get in on the action and did incredibly well to set up sniping halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow for a try just seven minutes later.
Kerr-Balow then went from scorer to instigator, throwing a deft inside pass to Robinson who once again found a gaping hole to exploit, and a couple of phases later Nanai-Williams dived over the whitewash to secure the bonus point before the break.
The Blues did manage to fight their way back into the match in the second stanza, with the injection of Piri Weepu on the 60 minute mark giving the Blues more direction.
But it took 77 minutes for the Blues to finally find their way to the try line through Sherwin Stowers, and it proved to be to little to late as the Blues now head to South Africa to face the Bulls and Stormers without a win to their name.