Blues vs Chiefs Predictions: Blues to power through to become champions

 | Friday 21st June 2024, 11:23am

Friday 21st June 2024, 11:23am

Alex Cox Rugby Union

After kicking off in February, a sold-out Eden Park hosts a fascinating Super Rugby Pacific final on Saturday (08:05, Sky Sports Action) as the competition comes to its conclusion.

Read on for my Blues vs Chiefs prediction as the Blues look to gain the ascendancy up front and lift the trophy.

Blues vs Chiefs Betting Tips

  • Blues win by 1-12 margin @ 9/5

Team News:

Blues

Vern Cotter’s medical staff have produced a miracle to allow his captain Patrick Tuipulotu to be named on the team sheet, as it was understood that he would miss the rest of the season with a knee injury. Other than his unexpected recall, the Blues will line up as expected.

Tu’ungafasi, Riccitelli and Renata will be the front-row trio, with Tuipulotu and Darry in the second row behind them. The flankers will be an All Black combination of Akira Ioane and Papali’I with Super Rugby’s top try scorer Sotutu at No.8. The latter is in a rich vein of form currently and will be looking to replicate that again on Saturday.

The half-back duo are retained, meaning it will be Christie and Plummer in the 9 and 10 jerseys. AJ Lam continues at 12 and I’ll admit I had my doubts over this position change but he has offered a dynamic ball-carrying option in the midfield and stood up defensively so far. He will have the familiar face of Rieko Ioane outside him again this week. The outside backs battle this week is mouthwatering with both sides stacked with talent and it will be Clarke, Tele’a and Perofeta who line up for the Blues.

Chiefs

The Chiefs medical staff will also have been working overtime this week to patch up a few players after their semi-final clash against the Hurricanes. One key name that will miss out this week is All Black hooker Taukei’aho who picked up a calf injury last week. That means it will be Ross, Thompson and Dyer in the front row, with Tupou and Vaa’i in the second row.

Finau, Jacobson and Sititi continue as the back-row trio; the three combined in abrasive harmony last week, with Jacobson doing a lot of the grunt work to allow the young talent of Sititi to find opportunities in open play. He made several barn-storming line breaks last week to keep the Hurricanes defence guessing all evening and tomorrow he goes up against Sotutu in an enticing clash.

Ratima and McKenzie continue as the half-back pairing again this week – the former had been an injury doubt earlier in the week but seems to have recovered in time. Pohipi and Lienart-Brown are the midfield pairing, with Nanai-Seturo, Narawa and Stevenson in the wide channels. Narawa especially was almost unplayable this week. His footwork and speed dazzled defenders and with an offload game to match, he is a nightmare to defend.

Blues vs Chiefs Odds

*Please click on the link above to be taken to the main Blues vs Chiefs page on betfred.com (or app) for all the live betting prices on this match.

Blues are 4/9 to win inside regulation time (80 minutes), while a Chiefs victory is priced at 21/10, and the draw at 18/1.

Blues to beat Chiefs by 1-12 winning margin

Blues win by 1-12 margin @ 9/5

This same fixture took place three weeks ago in the final round of the regular season, which the Blues won by 14 points. However, context is key here because the Blues had to push for a try bonus point and the Chiefs had their fourth position sewn up so made a few changes.

Although I think this will be a tight fixture, I believe the Blues have the pack and defence to get over the line in the latter stages.

Although they were previously a team you couldn’t trust to grind out a victory, Vern Cotter has really improved their confidence and mental toughness, to stand up in those big moments.

Finally, with wet conditions forecasted, it plays into the Blues style of attritional rugby and makes things trickier for McKenzie’s magic men out wide.

Find more Rugby Union Betting Tips here at Betfred Insights.

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