Two late kicks at posts from the Blues’ recent recruit, Beauden Barrett, helped the visitors secure a rare 24-12 victory over the Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday.
The two tries to nil outcome was the first time the Blues have won at the Chiefs since 2011, and was watched by a near-capacity crowd of more than 23 000, as Kiwis flock back to rugby stadiums after a virus-enforced hiatus.
Despite the pouring rain, both sides attempted adventurous rugby but in the end it was the steadying influence of Barrett with both tactical kicks and three-pointers that made the difference.
Until the All Blacks fullback took over the kicking duties for the Blues with 16 minutes remaining there had never been more than four points between the two sides but he rapidly extended the margin.
Barrett said at times he felt he was kicking aimlessly but when the opportunity came for a game-changing drop goal he had to take it.
“There was nothing on in terms of running with the ball in hand so I just sat back and hit it, and it’s one of those things. It’s game awareness,” he said.
“I’ve still got a lot to work on and I’m just enjoying playing footy again.”
For Warren Gatland’s Chiefs it was their second loss after going down to the Highlanders last week when New Zealand launched their own Super Rugby competition after the country declared itself coronavirus free.