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Eden Park sells out for Blues v Chiefs Super Rugby Pacific final

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RNZ

18 June 2024, 8:03 PM

Eden Park sells out for Blues v Chiefs Super Rugby Pacific final

It only took a few hours, but the full house signs are up at Eden Park for Saturday night's Super Rugby Pacific final.


The Blues and Chiefs will play in front of 47,000 people at the country's largest stadium, with tickets going on sale at 9am Tuesday morning and being snapped up by midday.


Veteran Blues prop Angus Ta'avao is fizzing at the prospect of playing a final in front of such a big crowd.





"A final at Eden Park, mate. Blues against the Chiefs. What more could you ask for, It's going to be awesome," said Ta'avao, who spent six seasons down the road in Hamilton with the Chiefs between 2018-23.


He is the most experienced current player to have spent time at both teams, who have an otherwise heated rivalry.


"I've been real present, being in this moment," he said, reflecting on his season so far.


"But I know being down there, how they feel about this, it's a massive, massive battle. It's all about heading up State Highway 1 and the physical battle up front. They always have the skilful backs … it always comes down to the wire."


The Blues and Chiefs met only three weeks ago in the final regular season game of the season, which ended in a 31-17 win for the Blues.


At the time the lost bonus point looked to have cost the Blues a potential home final, however the Chiefs' subsequent semi-final win over the Hurricanes on Saturday meant the final would be played at Eden Park for the second time in three years.


Ta'avao played in the Chiefs side that lost to the Crusaders last year in Hamilton, a heart-breaking result after they had won every game that season to that point.


"I know last year, after losing to the Crusaders in that final, the boys will be looking for redemption. Clayton (McMillan) has already been talking about, you know, making their own story about being able to win away from home and to make a change and win a championship," Ta'avao said.


It will be a family affair for the 34-year-old, whose career has taken him for a stint at the Waratahs as well as playing 22 tests for the All Blacks.


Ta'avao and Anton Lienert-Brown's fathers are good friends and said the two would meet up before attending the game on Saturday night.





He will also be up against a fair few of his old teammates when he takes the field.


"I know a lot of them. Quinn Tupaea, we went through the rehab process last year. I mean like six years - even though some of the boys that I played with have left, there's a lot of familiar faces. Obviously after the game a few weeks ago, I had a good chat, chat and catch up with them."


This will easily be the biggest Super Rugby Pacific crowd of the year, with the only other sold-out game in New Zealand being the Chiefs and Hurricanes regular season match in Hamilton.


The Chiefs are currently sweating on an injury crisis at hooker, with third string Tyrone Thompson set to be named in the starting team on Wednesday evening.


Meanwhile the Blues will likely be unchanged from the side that comfortably beat the Brumbies in their semi-final on Friday night.