The Blues Development team came from behind to beat the Chiefs Development team 40-37 in Thames on Saturday.
In squally conditions the Blues managed to peg back the score from 37-23 down with 15 minutes to go, to seal the result with an injury time penalty goal from the boot of James Semple.
Playing into the wind in the first half the Blues struggled to contain the fiercely physical Chiefs team.
The Chiefs Development team fielded an experienced side that featured several Chiefs squad members, namely powerful forward Scott Waldrom.
Coach Jeff Wilson said the opposition was quick to pounce on mistakes taking an early lead of 20-5.
“They were able to capitalise by scoring some long range tries off our errors,” said Wilson.
The Blues worked their way back into the match, trailing 27-20 at half time.
Despite playing with the wind in the second half the Blues were still conceding points, finding themselves behind 37-23 with 15 minutes to go.
“We brought on some of the young fellas and they made an impact. We seemed to pick up our game and fight back,” said Wilson.
The scores were level as the clock ticked past full time but a penalty deep into injury time gave the Blues the opportunity to take the lead for the first time in the match – a chance that James Semple did not miss.
“It is good to be able to win games like that. I don’t think any of the boys would be completely satisfied with how they played but we got the job done.”
Wilson said in the build up to the match he was looking forward to seeing the midfield pairing of Francis Saili and Corey Aporo, both returning from injury lay offs.
“They went about their work very well, Francis is very strong and carries the ball well.”
Other stand out performances came from the locking combination of Blues squad member Liaki Moli and New Zealand Under-20 representative Steven Luatua. Wilson said they were dominant at line out and kick offs.
Wilson also said he was pleased to see the team get through the match with no injuries but knows they will be worse for wear after the bruising encounter.
The Blues Development team now prepare for their two games in the Pacific Rugby Cup. The team will host Tonga A and Fiji A at the Pakuranga Rugby Club.
Blues 40 (S Luatua 2, N Tuitavake, B Lam, N Hughes tries; M Lam 2 pen, 2 con, J Semple 1 pen, 1 con)
Chiefs 37 (T Renata, S Waldrom, A Tuala, M Nemani tries; T Renata 4 con, 3 pen)