Battle of the Bombays' extra motivation for both Blues and Chiefs

By James Perry

Chiefs first five Marty McKenzie thinks the Blues could possibly be their biggest Super Rugby rivalry match and this weekend's game will be no different.

"{It's] the 'Battle of the Bombays' and you probably don't realise until you get up here and get involved in one of those realise how actually big it is," he says. 

The teams clash this Saturday for the second time this season. The Chiefs have the upper hand, having beaten the Blues 33-29 in April at home in Hamilton. 

"We got over the line there, but yeah different story at Eden Park...obviously a different beast," he says.

The Chiefs win against the Sharks last weekend and the Blues defeat to the Hurricanes saw the northerners slip behind the Chiefs on the New Zealand conference table.

Despite having won four games on the trot earlier this season, equalling their total number of victories in 2018, the Blues are now in danger of capturing their 6th consecutive NZ wooden spoon. 

Black says things could have been different had his side managed to stay in games for longer periods.

He says they have been guilty of fading towards the end of matches after having started well, and the lessons learned are they have to be able to play for the full 80 or 90 minutes if they want to avoid the close losses they've endured.  He points to the team's results against other NZ teams this year, when their biggest loss was by 12 points to the Highlanders in Dunedin.

Both sides still have very slight chances of reaching the playoffs, but a loss this week will effectively end that.

Helping the Chiefs' cause is the possible return of All Black flanker Sam Cane from a broken neck suffered seven months ago.

Chiefs coach Colin Cooper said today that Cane could make his return "this week, or next week," regardless Otere Black says his side can't get distracted about Cane's possible return, repeating that their primary focus is for the Blues to put in a maximum effort.

The Chiefs sit two points clear of the Blues on the Super Rugby table. 

For the Auckland-based side to avoid a sixth successive last-placed finish in the New Zealand conference they must win this weekend.