Chiefs hold off Blues 23-16 in Super Rugby

The Chiefs have maintained their Super Rugby momentum, scoring a late try on the way to closing out a 23-16 win over the bottom-of-the-table Blues in Hamilton.

Winger Tom Marshall nabbed what turned out to the decisive five-pointer 12 minutes from fulltime on Saturday night after an 80-metre break-out.

With the score at 13-13, the Chiefs won a turnover inside their 22, impressive No.8 Michael Leitch produced a big carry before Marshall provided the finishing touch.

Five-eighth Aaron Cruden added the conversion and then extended the margin with a late penalty.

Blues replacement Ihaia West landed a post-hooter penalty goal to rescue a bonus point for his side.

The result at Waikato Stadium kept the Chiefs second in the New Zealand conference and also second in overall points behind competition leaders the Hurricanes.

The Blues upped their intensity in the second spell and put plenty of pressure on the Chiefs.

But it was another frustrating loss for the Auckland-based franchise and took their woeful start to the season to 0-7.

Each of those defeats has been by 12 points or fewer, five of them within the margin of a converted try.

It was also their ninth loss in a row against the Chiefs.

The Chiefs were without the midfield impact of Sonny Bill Williams, the inside centre a late withdrawal with a knee niggle.

A scrappy opening spell was played mainly in Blues territory, as the Chiefs showed better continuity and also profited from opposition indiscipline.

After Cruden got them on the board with a penalty goal, the home side finally made their possession and territorial advantage pay in the 27th minute.

After the forwards pounded away at the Blues line, winger James Lowe found a gap to score a converted try.

The Blues’ only reply in the first 40 minutes was a Dan Bowden penalty, but they struck early in the second half.

From a five-metre scrum, skipper Jerome Kaino made a snipe from No.8 to dot down.

Bowden added the extras before he and Cruden exchanged penalties to tie the game up with a quarter to go.

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