2024 Super Rugby Grand Final Preview: The Blues v The Chiefs at Eden Park in Auckland

by Sports Benches

89 games done, one to go to finish off the 2024 Super Rugby Season with a sold out crowd ahead of Saturday’s Final between two of the last two year’s runner-ups where one of them will be going one better for the Championship – It’s The Blues from Auckland (2022 runner-up) v The Chiefs from Waikato (last year’s runner up) at Eden Park. The last time the Blues won a trophy in the actual Super Rugby competition was back in 2003 v Crusaders as well as the short-lived Trans-Tasman trophy due to COVID three years ago v the Highlanders while the Chiefs last won back in 2013 in a home final v the ACT Brumbies.


It will be mostly be an unchanged line-up apart from their hookers with Samisoni Taukeiaho out due to an leg injury from last Saturday’s semi-final win v Hurricanes as well as Manaaki Selby-Rikit for Naitoa Ah Kuoi in one of the team’s reserve locks, so Tyrone Thompson will be thrown into the deep end for Taukeiaho who hasn’t started since last year’s regular season finale v the Western Force. You would think Bradley Slater would get that chance instead of Thompson but he would still be the team’s useful finisher when coming off the bench later on as the reserve hooker. Despite some injury cloud, the Chiefs are set to toughen up their defense to try and stop the Blues from scoring from the start while looking to exploit on the counter-attack by having the speedy full-back Shaun Stevenson back to lead the line that pushes Daniel Rona back on the team’s bench line.


The same would go with the Blues other than the return of Patrick Tuipulotu on their starting second row for Josh Beehre (demoted to the bench) at No.4. We thought the skipper would be originally out until the start of the International season next month for the All Blacks but he’s worked so hard to push way back into selection lately since that Quarter-Final MCL knee tear v the Drua three weeks ago on what is going to be a very big 80 minutes for him to hopefully steer the Blues with the Championship win they really deserved. A strong forwards pack should do the job to stop the quick Chiefs attack defensively in its tracks while giving their backline a run of their money. Hopefully, that would the key when it comes to making that support play work through the gate or the Chiefs’ wall in order to get the big points they accrue off a full 80 run in attack.

Final Thoughts & Predictions

You can say that the Chiefs had their lows at times in the last couple of regular season games a few weeks ago, particularly when they were away from home. However, they’ve been excellent all along throughout the Finals across New Zealand so far & other than the big blow of Taukeiaho, they still got enough attacking fire and the physical steel to bring this championship all the way back to Waikato. Blues, on the other hand, knows how to get the ball rolling right from the word go with early tries on the board. Yes, they might have their own weaknesses at times but the Blues will not down their tools that early in order to keep that winning lead away from the opposition as the game goes on before they can hopefully finally see that winning light at the end of the day with their long-awaited championship the Blues have been chasing for so long that goes back to 2003.

It’s going to be a cracking match to finish off the 2024 Super Rugby Season on a high after we witnessed the highs and lows over the last 18 weeks – such as no Crusaders in the Playoffs for the first time in a long time off the back of key personnel moving on, ACT Brumbies falling short in the semis yet again, The Hurricanes’ top barren run also shockingly ended outside the Grand Final by the Chiefs last Saturday and the Melbourne Rebels’ rare magical season towards their one and only Quarter-Finals was being eventually cut off by their huge financial difficulties that became too difficult for them to survive.

Who will going to win the Grand Final? It’s going to be a very close finish but The Blues will get their moment with the win over the Chiefs by 15 points. Make sure you tune in this Saturday afternoon at 4.30pm AEST ahead of kick-off (5.05pm) where it will be shown on both Stan Sport (streaming subscription required without ads) & 9Gem (Nine’s free-to-air multi-channel).

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