Blues, Chiefs draw 16-16 in Super Rugby
AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) — Johnny Fa'auli finished a counter-attacking move in the 68th minute which earned the Hamilton-based Chiefs a 16-16 draw with the Auckland-based Blues in Super Rugby on Friday.
The Chiefs trailed 13-8 at halftime and were down 16-8 when the Blues' England-born flyhalf Piers Francis kicked his third penalty early in the second half.
After Aaron Cruden narrowed the gap to five points with a 52nd-minute penalty, Fa'auli pounced on Damian McKenzie's superb cross-field kick to score the try which leveled the scores with 12 minutes to play.
Francis had a chance to earn a win for the Blues in the 71st minute but his penalty from close range drifted outside the right-hand upright.
The Blues missed a chance to end a run of 11 consecutive straight losses to the Chiefs.
"It's unfortunate. I thought we did enough to win," Blues captain James Parsons said. "Piers had that opportunity with that kick at the end and it just wasn't to be."
The Chiefs held an early lead with a penalty to McKenzie but the Blues leveled the score with a Francis' penalty, then led 10-3 with a try to Reiko Ioane.
After an exchange of penalties to start the second half, the Chiefs showed their counter-attacking flair with Fa'auli's try. James Lowe instigated the move and backrower Liam Messam played a part before McKenzie kicked to Fa'auli on an unguarded right wing.
In the only other match Friday, the Western Force beat Queensland 40-26 in an Australian conference match in Brisbane. The Force led 13-5 at halftime and moved ahead of the Reds into third place in the conference with the victory.
Former Springboks and Stormers flyhalf Peter Grant kicked four penalties and three conversions to account for 18 of the Force's points.
None of the teams in Australia have winning records, with the leading ACT Brumbies and second-place New South Wales having won only four of their first 11 matches, and the Force just four of 12.