The Blues were handed a master class in how to play wet weather rugby on Friday, as they were smashed 29-14 by the Chiefs at Waikato Stadium.
Despite holding the Chiefs scoreless in the second half, the damage had already been inflicted in the opening stanza as the under-strength Chiefs blitzed their northern rivals in a scintillating first-half to secure their bonus point win before the break.
In the wake of the Blues' narrow 18-19 loss to the Crusaders last week, head coach Pat Lam made just one injury enforced change to his side in the belief they would atone for their errors in the season opener, but how wrong he was proved as the Blues failed to fire a shot.
And Blues captain Keven Mealamu was left fuming after a game in which his team were out-muscled and out-thought.
"We just can't afford to play like that," he said.
"We're going to have to go back and have a look at our game and a look at ourselves as individuals because that sort of performance is not bloody good enough."
In contrast Chiefs' coach Dave Rennie said there were many aspects in their game which he thought were positive.
“This week, we certainly carried better; there was more urgency in our contact support," Rennie said.
"Probably our set piece was better and we used that turnover ball and took opportunities better in that first 40.” he added.
While the Chiefs handled the wet weather with ease, the Blues were their own worst enemies, losing the ball in contact, slipping off tackles, lacking any urgency or cohesion and never really threatening their opponents.
The Chiefs' glamour midfield combination of Sonny Bill Williams and Richard Kahui had hogged the headlines in the lead up to the match, but it was scrumhalf Tawera Kerr-Barlow who shone the brightest along with fullback Robbie Robinson and wing Tim Nanai-Williams.
Together they made huge inroads into the Blues defence and created three tries in 13 minutes.
Several players debuted for the Chiefs, most notably young New Zealand Under-20 prop Ben Tameifuna, who had not expected the call up to the Chiefs so soon.
“Everything's just come quicker than expected. I was hoping I'll be starting halfway down the track. Now I just have to step up and take it on the chin.” he said.
Four other players gained their first Chiefs cap were Shane Cleaver, Augustine Pulu, Andrew Horrell and Declan O'Donnell.
The side turn their attention to an exciting encounter with the Crusaders at McLean Park in Napier next Friday, March 9
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