CHIEFS STAR PLAYING BLUES
THE MUCH MALIGNED Chiefs could have turned the corner on the highway of hell that has characterised their Super 12 history by roaring to an impressive 34-16 victory over the Blues at Rotorua International Stadium on Friday night.
Perennial underdogs with the public and pundits writing them off and picking them as once again the Kiwi bottom rankers the John Mitchell coached Chiefs upset predictions with a complete display of dominant power rugby that overwhelmed the Blues and earned them an extremely satisfying victory.
Individuals are hard to highlight in such a wonderful team effort that eclipsed their more fancied opposites by four tries to one. However thickset centre Keith Lowen - even without scoring an epic hatrick - would have been a certain candidate for man-of-the-match honours.
Bursting through hapless Blues tacklers, his totara-trunk-thighs pumping as he accelerated into gaps Lowen contined his recent form and his effort to score a sensational hatrick while outplaying his highly touted rival, Jeremy Stanley, was a revelation and should have the All Black selectors seriously considering his skills.
Lowen's midfield partner in crime Mark Ranby also enjoyed an excellent game while up front blindside Koula Tukino was in barnstorming form and motivated his fellow pack members to maintain the edge over the Blues eight for much of a what was a rugged forward contest.
It was this continued pressure from the Chiefs pack which paved the road to victory and by maintaining the pressure throughout the game they ensured victory complete with a crucial four try bonus point.