Following on just from the Chiefs v Blues match-up, it’s time to review the Top three best players selecting both from the winning and losing teams combined.
As usual, both teams worked hard in the first 40, but again the winning team, which is the Blues have their fair share in the attack, whereas The Chiefs offered little in the attacking final third that left the forwards do the heavy lifting alone.
Coming home in third is Damian McKenzie for the Chiefs.
He offers some goal-kicking prowess and accuracy into the posts on the run home that helped back up his craft, having scored most of the penalty goals for the night in a losing side.
Besides, he plays at full-back in the No.15 shirt, so McKenzie has attacking prowess, which is beneficial to contribute both at domestic and international level.
Now having seen two losses in this NZ-only competition, he’s hoping his displays alone tonight will help him demonstrate more of a complete player next time around.
Not just kicking goals but also giving support to his backline and frontline department & scoring tries in the hope, at last, solve The Chiefs’ losing hoodoo.
Second up, Patrick Tuipulotu for the Blues.
Look at this beast, which often shotgunned the Chiefs’ wall zone.
Tuipulotu was the driving force behind the maul and built up play having seen The Blues not just win a few penalties & a drop goal from Otere Black & Beauden Barrett.
Besides, his presence in the final third gave so much pressure to the opposition where first up to his forwards assistant, Hoskins Sotutu spotted that little gap on the TRY line with the first big points.
Fast forward to under 10 mins left to go, Caleb Clarke called out for Tuipoltu’s name with the short ball before he spotted a gap on the right-wing and asked Sotutu and Mark Talea to help finish off the work for him which defined one of the Blues’ critical moments of the night.
Tuipoltu’s front row work will always continue to give a helping hand to his fellow front & backline troops. As long as he keeps his performance like this in the next couple of weeks, look out for him as your primary target in this year’s competition.
And last but not least, Hoskins Sotutu.
Sotutu has a great eye on sticking with the Blues on their lane whenever they’re patient with the set phases built in the attack.
Not only has he scored a TRY himself through the help of their successful maul & set phases via the creation of Tuipoltu on the Chiefs’ danger area. But Sotutu also contributed a fantastic quick feed on the right-wing via a successful observation from Patrick Tuipoltu & Caleb Clarke towards Mark Talea with the execution of The Blues’ 2nd big score.
Like Tuipoltu, Sotutu is a significant contributor that benefits The Blues as a whole team.
Having seen both forwards & backlines work together; it allowed him to unpack the best techniques ticked off on every checklist that backed up Sotutu as one of the best performing players in a winning side tonight.
He gets everyone’s attention in the right ways, so he comes home 1st.
Congratulations to the three best performing players from both teams combined on this blog post.
Damian McKenzie can continue to do his best alone but still needs help from his team-mates in the defense next weekend to help demonstrate why The Chiefs deserve to win games.
Without it, the poor performances will continue to haunt them, especially McKenzie himself. Unfortunately, it will be a harsh encounter v the Crusaders on the road to Christchurch.
On the other hand, The Blues continue its fairytale start in the second week running. Now, the pressure test is still on.
Can they hold on and bulldoze the Highlanders at home next Saturday?
If so, it’s going to be a great battle on the run home regarding the 1st place spot in the Super Rugby NZ standings.
If not, where they’re going to go from there because after the Highlanders game? Luckily, they got the weekend off in the 1st week of July.
But again, after that, they get through one of the most dominant team a la Mercedes F1 Team in Super Rugby named the Crusaders to overcome.