HAMILTON: Despite being held scoreless after half-time, the Chiefs recorded their first win of 2012, beating the Blues 29-14 at Waikato Stadium.
The Chiefs had a four-try bonus-point up at the break and a penalty from Michael Hobbs and a try to Sherwin Stowers for the Blues was the only scoring in the second 40 minutes.
Following up on a round one loss to the Highlanders and four serious injuries to starters, the Chiefs carved up the Blues early and often.
After prop Sona Taumalolo's converted try and a penalty from Aaron Cruden put the Chiefs up 10-0 after seven minutes, the Blues then answered with a pair of three-pointers from Hobbs.
The Chiefs then crossed for three tries in a 13-minute spell, started by the play of fullback Robbie Robinson to set up winger Asaeli Tikoirotuma, before halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Tim Nanai-Williams crossed..
Right from the outset it was clear the injury-stricken Chiefs were hungry. And feast they did.
Four key injures, including two front-row casualties, in their opening match, were supposed to weaken the Chiefs. It had the opposite effect, galvanising the team. Their scrum that should have crumbled didn't. Their blunted attack flourished.
Greater intensity and desire were evident from the locals throughout.
The bumbling Blues, however, weren't meant to roll belly up for a tummy rub. They made it all too easy. Few predicted this shoddy effort. They will hear the cowbells ringing all the way to South Africa, where two tough matches against the Bulls and Stormers now look daunting after two successive losses to kick off their campaign.
Defying the steady rain and challenging conditions, the Chiefs' scintillating back three punished aimless kicking. And a composed Aaron Cruden continued his near-flawless goal-kicking.
From fullback, Robbie Robinson produced two scintillating breaks, one that left Jerome Kanio clutching air. Nanai-Williams was another standout, scoring one of four first-half tries. From there, the Blues never recovered.
The Blues' handling was poor, their tackling and anticipation worse.