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Chiefs snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in Hamilton thriller

Relive 1 NEWS' live updates of this evening's Super Rugby Aotearoa game between the Chiefs and the Blues at FMG Stadium in Hamilton.

FT: CHI 15-12 BLU

Wow what a finish in Hamilton! The Chiefs have absolutely stolen that right at the death, much to the delight of the home crowd!

The Blues will rue some of their decision-making from penalties, opting to go for the corner over and over for no result when three points were on offer. At the end of the day it has cost them, as the Chiefs were able to stay in the game despite being on the back foot for the majority of the game. That's two losses on the bounce for the Auckland franchise after what was such a promising start to the season.

But full credit to the home side, they fought right until the siren and were rewarded when McKenzie dove over for the winning try. They created plenty of chances but for a long time it looked like victory would elude them as they failed to convert those chances into points. However, they walk away with their second straight victory and perhaps have found their stride to make a run in this competition.

That's all from us, I hope you can recover from that heart-pumping finish! Enjoy the rest of your evening.

Damian McKenzie of the Chiefs scores the winning try against the Blues. Source: Getty

80min: CHI 15-12 BLU

CHI TRY! Jacobson breaks the line and he's through! He offloads and the Chiefs are brought down just short of the line. The ball quickly shifts to McKenzie and the little fullback scampers through to score! Wow, what a finish! Hang on, the Blues have challenged the play, believing the offload was forward. It's close, but there's no clear evidence it's gone forward. Try stands!! McKenzie converts, the Chiefs have stolen this!!

78min: CHI 8-12 BLU

The Blues look to wind down the clock but the Chiefs win the penalty once again through Jacobson in the ruck. A lot to do for the Chiefs from here though. They need to go 70-odd metres in three minutes to win the game.

75min: CHI 8-12 BLU

The Chiefs are going to have a big push themselves now. They string together 17 phases but the Blues turn it over and clear it into touch. The Chiefs bring it straight back though, Tiatia breaking down the left wing! The Chiefs will have another chance to try and string together a winning play. They're around 15 metres out but the Blues are holding steady. Papalii goes for the intercept and it is ruled he could not catch the ball so the Chiefs have the penalty. They go for the lineout but Slater overthrows everyone and Papalii takes it for the Blues! Could that be the deciding play?

69min: CHI 8-12 BLU

The Blues win another penalty in the Chiefs 22 and opt for the corner this time to try and seal it. The Blues score off the resulting maul but again it goes upstairs to check for obstruction. Cowley-Tuioti is ruled to have been in front of Papalii when he bust through to score, so the try is ruled out.

67min: CHI 8-12 BLU

Bad news for the Chiefs as it looks like Cane is going off with an injury.

62min: CHI 8-12 BLU

BLU TRY! It won't matter! The Blues get the ball back off the drop out and Clarke busts the line down the left! He's brought down outside the 22, but the Blues will look to make the most of this opportunity. They spread it right to Robinson on the right wing, and he's beaten his man with a wonderful inside step! He's through here the big man, and his determination brings him over the line! What a try! Black misses again so the lead remains four.

60min: CHI 8-7 BLU

But the Chiefs concede a penalty straight from the kickoff! The Blues are going to try and take the points now, but Black has missed! Oh no, it really wasn't a difficult kick from the left side of the posts, but it's drifted right.

57min: CHI 8-7 BLU

CHI TRY! The Chiefs kick deep but it's going straight into the hands of Black on the right sideline. Oh no, he's dropped it over the line, just ten metres out! The Chiefs have another chance. Moments later Telea is penalised for being offside. The Chiefs opt to kick for touch once more. The drive another maul, the Blues are holding on but the Chiefs have bundled over again - have they got it down this time? Yes, says the referee but we're going upstairs to see how it's got there! Try scored, Taukei'aho the one bustling over at the bottom of the pile. McKenzie misses the conversion but the Chiefs lead!

54min: CHI 3-7 BLU

Sam Cane chooses to go for touch again, sensing this is the time to strike. The Chiefs win the lineout and push forward with a huge maul. They bundle over the line but the ball is held up in the pile of bodies. The Blues have a goal line drop out.

52min: CHI 3-7 BLU

The Chiefs win the penalty after Finau gets over the ball just outside the Blues' 22. But the home side have the momentum and decide to opt for touch in an attempt to take the lead. The forwards push the Blues back towards the line, Weber gives it to Trask who plays a kick through for Lienert-Brown to score! Or does he? We're going to have a look at this, Rieko Ioane has done brilliantly to get a hand on it as Lienert-Brown brought the ball down. The TMO rules he doesn't have control of the ball, but the ref was playing advantage so the Chiefs have another crack.

45min: CHI 3-7 BLU

CHI PEN! Sotutu is caught isolated around 30 metres out from his own line and Jacobsen gets his hands on the ball, winning the penalty. The Chiefs are going to try and take the points on offer, and McKenzie nails it, so there's just four points in it now.

40min: RESTART

Perofeta gets us back underway for the second half!

HT: CHI 0-7 BLU

Well, a low-scoring contest so far. Neither side has really found their footing, there have been plenty of penalties and plenty of handling errors.

Quinn Tupaea has looked lethal for the Chiefs, breaking through the Blues line several times, but the hosts will be disappointed to have not managed to make the most of the opportunities created.

The Blues, well they decided to try and go for the big points rather than take the three points on a couple of occasions and were unable to score either time. Will that come back to bite them? Find out when we return soon.

40min: CHI 0-7 BLU

The Chiefs may come all the way down the field and score here! Weber is in plenty of space inside the Blues' 22, but Rieko Ioane brings him down. The Chiefs nearly pull off a spectacular try, as the ball shifts to Finau on the left wing, who just manages to control it and desperately lobs it back into play as he falls into touch. But Stevenson can't collect it before it bounces into touch.

38min: CHI 0-7 BLU

The Blues win another penalty on the Chiefs 22 and again opt for touch. Ioane comes off the back of the maul and gives it to Christie but he's shipped it on to absolutely nobody and Finau grabs it and charges out of the danger zone. The Blues may rue not taking the simple three points.

35min: CHI 0-7 BLU

Perofeta finds himself in some space on the left, puts a little kick through for Ioane to chase, but Wainui is there to recover. The referee calls it back for a Blues penalty however, Lienert-Brown done for a late tackle. The Blues again refuse to take the three and kick for touch. It doesn't pay off as Ah Kuoi turns the ball over soon after the lineout.

32min: CHI 0-7 BLU

The game is beginning to open up now, Tupaea again breaks the line and gets the ball away to Trask on his left. The first five is in space just outside the Blues' 22 and tries to send a long pass to an open Wainui on the wing as he is being tackled. But the ball goes forward and the Chiefs waste another opportunity.

30min: CHI 0-7 BLU

The Blues have numbers out on the right and Telea has broken away down the wing and is charging towards the line! He's got Ioane on his inside but decides to go for the corner, but McKenzie makes a brilliant diving tackle, knocking the ball out of Telea's hands as he went for the line. The Chiefs choose to scrum.

25min: CHI 0-7 BLU

BLU TRY! The Chiefs appear to have escaped but the lineout throw has sailed over the top and is pounced on by Christie! The Blues halfback darts towards the line, falling just short, but the bigger, stronger force of Akira Ioane barges through off the back of the ruck to open the scoring for the Blues! Black converts.

21min: CHI 0-0 BLU

The Blues win a penalty and Black chooses to kick for touch, the visiting side looking to test the Chiefs goal line defence for the first time tonight. They win the lineout and start a strong maul but it breaks down short of the line. Black tries to fling it to Clarke, but the winger drops it in centre field. Play called back as Ross was offside. Blues choose to scrum and win another penalty. They scrum again, Sotutu takes it off the back and the forwards do their best to push it over the line. Christie spins it to the backs and Plummer tries an audacious through-the-legs pass that sails into touch well over Clarke's head.

18min: CHI 0-0 BLU

Sotutu throws a shocking pass straight into the hands Stevenson, who I think is so shocked at how bad it was that the ball has gone straight through his hands!

17min: CHI 0-0 BLU

Tupaea has busted through again! But this time he can't get the offload away and the Blues recover the ball just outside their own 22. They clear to McKenzie, who is tackled into touch on the halfway line.

15min: CHI 0-0 BLU

Been a mix of sloppy offense and some staunch defence so far, neither side have got anyway close to opening the scoring.

12min: CHI 0-0 BLU

Tupaea bursts through the line! The Blues catch him just outside the 22, but not before he gets the offload away to McKenzie, but the fullback has dropped it!

8min: CHI 0-0 BLU

The Chiefs are struggling to get out of their own 22, but Ah Kuoi flicks a lovely offload to a rampaging Taukei'aho who charges up the middle of the park past the halfway line. The Chiefs lose it forward in the following possession however.

6min: CHI 0-0 BLU

Brilliant kick down field by Black, eluding Wainui and bouncing into touch around ten metres out. Wainui takes it quickly but Chiefs are under pressure deep in their own half.

5min: CHI 0-0 BLU

Play stuck in the midfield so far in the early stages, both teams winning penalties against possession.

7.05pm: KICKOFF

We're away, Trask kicks off!

6.30pm: PREVIEW

It's a northern rivalry tonight as the Chiefs host the Blues in Hamilton.

The hosts are coming off a brilliant come-from-behind victory over the Hurricanes in Wellington last week, while the Blues will be looking to get back to winning ways after falling to the Crusaders at home.

The Chiefs have made three changes to their starting fifteen while two fresh faces will join the bench.

In the only change to the forward pack, rookie Samipeni Finau has been promoted from the bench to start at lock in place of All Black lock Tupou Vaa’i who has been ruled out after sustaining a concussion against the Hurricanes.

Sean Wainui has been named to start on the left wing in his 50th Super Rugby game. Māori All Blacks outside back Shaun Stevenson returns to start after in-form back Jonah Lowe was ruled out due to sickness.

Taranaki prop Reuben O’Neill returns to the twenty-three named on the bench. The Chiefs will also welcome the return of powerful number eight Pita Gus Sowakula to complete the changes to the bench.

All Black prop Ofa Tuungafasi is set to become the eighth Blues player to reach 100 games tonight when he comes off the bench.

Fellow All Black loose forward Dalton Papalii and flying winger Mark Telea will return after missing a week with head knocks while halfback Finlay Christie makes his first start of the season following time out with injury.

The Blues will be without suspended hooker Kurt Eklund but have significant depth with Auckland hooker, Leni Apisai, earning a recall after training as an injury replacement.

The backline outside Christie is virtually unchanged while there are six All Blacks in a powerful pack to take on the Chiefs, including the in-form Nepo Laulala who starts at tighthead against his former team.
 

TEAMS:

Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Quinn Tupaea, 11 Sean Wainui, 10 Kaleb Trask, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Luke Jacobson, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Mitchell Brown, 5 Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 4 Samipeni Finau, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 Samisoni Taukei'aho, 1 Aiden Ross.

Replacements: 16 Bradley Slater, 17 Ollie Norris, 18 Reuben O'Neill, 19 Simon Parker, 20 Pita Gus Sowakula, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Alex Nankivell, 23 Chase Tiatia.

Blues: 15 Stephen Perofeta, 14 Mark Telea, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Harry Plummer, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Otere Black, 9 Finlay Christie; 8 Hoskins Sotutu, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Josh Goodhue, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Luteru Tolai, 1 Alex Hodgman.

Replacements: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18 Ofa Tuungafasi, 19 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 20 Tom Robinson, 21 Adrian Choat, 22 Jonathan Ruru, 23 TJ Faiane.