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Chiefs down Blues in Super Rugby

A crucial try by the Ataata Moeakiola boosted the Waikato Chiefs revival as they downed neighbours the Auckland Blues 33-29 in a high-paced Super Rugby derby in Hamilton on Saturday.
Moeakiola's try, with his first touch of the ball, lifted the Chiefs to a 21-10 lead.
In a relentless closing 35 minutes, the ageless Ma'a Nonu led a spirited Blues response with two of their three second-half tries.
But each time they closed the gap, the Chiefs were able to score again to maintain their advantage.
After a disappointing four losses to start the season, the Chiefs have now strung together a draw and three consecutive victories and lifted themselves off the bottom of the New Zealand conference.
They also extended their unbeaten run against their nearest neighbors to 15 consecutive games.
"It's huge, it's massive to get a win in the New Zealand conference," a satisfied Chiefs captain Brodie Retallick said. "We came out here on our home ground and wanted to prove a point and fix up the first few rounds. Every time we scored they came back and we were hanging on there in the end."
In the tense battle, the Chiefs were clinging to a 14-10 lead early in the second half when their influential fullback Damian McKenzie limped off with a knee injury and Moeakiola came on to score what proved to be the decisive try.
The Blues were first on the board with an early Otere Black penalty before the Chiefs replied with converted tries to Brad Weber and Lachlan Boshier, and the Blues came back on the stroke of half-time with a try to Melani Nanai.
When McKenzie departed soon after the restart, on came the Tongan-born Japan wing Moeakiola to score immediately and take the pressure off the Chiefs.
Moeakiola, who earned the nickname "Japanese Jonah" with a string of outstanding performances at the World Under 20 Championship in 2016, crashed over with his first touch of the ball after Chief's standout midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown had opened up the Blues defense.
In a relentless closing 35 minutes, Nonu scored twice from close range for the Blues and Rieko Ioane also crossed the line.
But sandwiched between the Blues tries, Boshier touched down for his second try and Jesse Parete also scored to keep the Chiefs in front.


© 2019 AFP
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