Blues, Stormers out to buck trend

Blues centre George Moala carries the ball last week against the Highlanders. Photo: Getty Images
Blues centre George Moala carries the ball last week against the Highlanders. Photo: Getty Images
The Chiefs will have the opportunity at a unique slice of history when they travel to Eden Park to face the Blues.

The Hamilton outfit will be hunting for a 13th consecutive game without a loss against the Blues, which would set the record for the longest unbeaten run of any team against another in Super Rugby history.

The Blues came close to snapping that run when they pulled off a 16-all draw in their last game with the Chiefs, and they've never been too far off a comeback in their 12-game winless stretch. Indeed, only four of those 12 games saw the Chiefs run out to a victory of more than seven points.

The Blues last beat the Chiefs on March 26, 2011.

Home advantage key

While New Zealand derbies have traditionally been tough affairs, recent history suggests the home-field advantage is starting to take its toll on visiting teams. Each of the last five New Zealand derbies have been won by the home team on the day, including two post-season matches in 2017.

The Stormers will become the first team to tour New Zealand in Super Rugby 2018 when they travel to Christchurch to face the Crusaders. There are few tougher tasks for a South African squad in Super Rugby than to travel to New Zealand to face the Crusaders.

Only once since April 2001 has any South African team done so and managed to come away with a victory. Indeed, that was the Sharks of 2014 who scraped together a 30-25 win to buck the trend.

The Stormers will need to keep a special eye out for try-scoring machine George Bridge, who slipped through for a hat-trick of five-pointers when the Crusaders last hosted the Stormers. In fact, Bridge has scored six tries in his four previous games against South African opposition courtesy of a brace of hat-tricks against the Stormers and Cheetahs in consecutive weeks last season.

Super Rugby Round 3 will wrap up when the Hurricanes travel to Estadio Jose Amalfitani to face the Jaguares, and the pressure is on the Wellington club to kick on with their campaign and buck the slow-starter tag which has dogged them for the last half decade. The Hurricanes will be looking to avoid opening their campaign with consecutive defeats for the fourth time in the last six Super Rugby seasons.

The Hurricanes will be just the third New Zealand team to travel to Argentina to face the Jaguares. The Chiefs and Highlanders have blazed an impressive trail before them having picked up wins in the country during the Jaguares' inaugural 2016 campaign.

The Wellington side have struggled with their discipline outside New Zealand in recent times, however. They've conceded a yellow card in six of their last eight such games, and have conceded 10+ penalties in six of their last eight such games as well.

Last 12 encounters between the Blues and Chiefs:
Round 14 2017 – Blues 16 Chiefs 16
Round 2 2017 – Chiefs 41 Blues 26
Round 7 2016 – Chiefs 29 Blues 23
Round 8 2015 Chiefs 23 Blues16
Round 1 2015 Chiefs 23 Blues 18
Round 19 2014 Chiefs 11 Blues 8
Round 13 2014 Chiefs 32 Blues 20
Round 20 2013 Chiefs 26 Blues 16
Round 7 2013 Chiefs 23 Blues 16
Round 15 2012 Chiefs 41 Blues 34
Round 2 2012 Chiefs 29 Blues 14
Round 16 2011 Chiefs 16 Blues 11

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