Our Blues are set to return to Eden Park after two wins on the road in Australia, desperate to keep their winning streak going against the visiting Cheetahs from South Africa.
The Cheetahs, on the other hand, will be desperate to get out of a rut that’s seen them lose seven straight games in a row. Though they came agonisingly close last week against the Highlanders, going down 41-45 by conceding three tries in the final five minutes.
The Blues will aim to pile on the misery at Eden Park, a ground where the Cheetahs have never won. In fact, they’ve never beaten the Blues anywhere in New Zealand, with games played in Whangarei and Albany in previous years.
Statistically, the Cheetahs can be a pretty decent side – with a number of individuals ranking highly in this year’s competition for carries, metres gained and tackles made.
Where it counts most, however, is the scoreboard. And so far this season the Cheetahs have only outscored their opposition in the second half of a match once this season, whereas the Blues have managed to outscore their opposition in half the games they’ve played.
So, on present form, you should expect to see our team run the Cheetahs ragged in the first half, before running away with the match in the second.
Here’s hoping the numbers don’t lie. Kick-off is 7:35pm Friday at Eden Park.
1997: Blues 24-15 at Bloemfontein
2006: Blues 34-33 at Bloemfontein
2007: Blues 26-8 at Auckland
2008: Blues 50-26 at Bloemfontein
2009: Blues 46-12 at Albany
2010: Cheetahs 36-32 at Bloemfontein
2011: Blues 29-22 at Whangarei
2013: Cheetahs 34-13 at Bloemfontein
2014: Blues 40-30 at Auckland
2015: Cheetahs 25-24 at Bloemfontein
Matches: 10. Blues 7 wins, Cheetahs 3.
Highest scores: Blues 50 at Bloemfontein 2008; Cheetahs 36 at Bloemfontein 2010.
Biggest winning margins: Blues 34 (46-12) at Albany in 2009; Cheetahs 21 (34-13) at Bloemfontein 2013.