Super Rugby 2020: Aaron Cruden sparks Chiefs into second half comeback against Blues

A second-half spark from veteran Aaron Cruden has lifted the Chiefs from a 14-point deficit to claim the first win of the Super Rugby season, beating the Blues 37-29. 

The 31-year-old came on at half time, and drove the visitors around Eden Park, evident in the part he had to play with the try of the night in the 69th minute - he sliced past two defenders before showing all his skill, offloading to Shaun Stevenson who set up Soloman Alaimalo for the try. 

His experience was felt again in the 75th minute as he sat back in the pocket and nailed a dropkick to take the lead out to eight. 

Coach Warren Gatland made his presence felt as his experience bench came on to turn the tide in the second half. 

Cruden, along with Anton Lienert-Brown caused havoc for the Blues defenders who were out on their feet. Pita Gus Sowakula was at his punishing best around the ruck and crossed the line to score one of the Chiefs' four second-half tries. 

Flanker Lachlan Boshier was the best player on the park throughout the match, making 16 tackles in a bruising defensive display. 

Aidan Ross.
Aidan Ross. Photo credit: Image: Photosport

But the Blues dominated the early parts of the encounter, All Blacks winger Rieko Ioane scored a first-half double and the forward pack controlled the scrums and handling errors from the visitors before the break all went the way of the Blues.

But the hosts weren't able to continue that momentum in the second 40 as hooker Samisoni Taukei'aho powered over for his second of the night.

The storming comeback was too much for the Blues to handle as they were left wondering how they let that game go. 

The Auckland-based side takes on the Waratahs in Sydney next week, the Chiefs host the defending champion Crusaders in Hamilton. 

Chiefs 37 (Samisoni Taukei'aho 2, Solomon Alaimalo, Aiden Ross, Pita Gus Sowakula tries Aaron Cruden 3 cons pen drop goal) 

Blues 29 (Rieko Ioane 2, Tony Lamborn, Karl Tu'inukuafe tries Stephen Perofeta 3 cons Harry Plummer pen)