Blue 41-10 Chiefs: Caleb Clarke hat-trick lifts Blues in Super Rugby Pacific Final | Rugby Union News

Caleb Clarke’s three tries lifted the Auckland-based Blues to a 41-10 win over Hamilton’s Chiefs in an all-New Zealand Super Rugby Pacific final.

Clarke struck in the first half, helping the Blues run out to a 20-3 lead by half-time, and continued in fine form scoring twice more in the second half.

The Blues dominated in rainy conditions to win a Super Rugby title for the first time since 2003.

Akira Ioane scored the Blues’ first try, provided the last pass in Clarke’s second try, and won the line-out which led to Clarke’s third try, before leaving the field to a standing ovation in the 78th minute.

“That was a tough one and we had so many boys who stepped up,” Clarke said. “It was a big occasion, especially for Akira, the coaches who have come in for the first time and a group that has been together for so long,” Clarke said.

“It’s going to take a while to sink in but we finally got the job done.”

Blues’ captain Patrick Tuipulotu played through a knee injury from two weeks ago, and his frequent carries were a large part of the Blues’ dominant performance, before he limped off the field in the 58th minute.

Former Scotland and Fiji coach Vern “Stern Vern” Cotter has been credited with transforming the Blues this season, and bringing a ruthlessness that had been missing.

Chiefs skipper Luke Jacobson said: “Credit to the Blues, they came out and set it from the get-go and made it very difficult for us.”