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Chiefs Too Physical: Smith

Chiefs Too Physical: Smith
Highlanders centre Rob Thompson slices through the Chiefs defence in their Super Rugby clash at the ANZ Stadium, Suva on June 30, 2018. Chiefs beat Highlanders 45-22. Photo: Ronald Kumar
July 01
11:45 2018

It was a clinical performance from the Chiefs as they ran in six converted tries in the first half to blow away the Highlanders 45-22 in their Super Rugby clash at the ANZ Stadium, Suva, last night.

Playing under strong windy conditions, the Chiefs opted to play with the wind behind them and it did them wonders.

“It was spot on,” Chiefs co-captain Sam Cane said of their first half performance.

“It was a classic encounter and we were very clinical in the first half.”

Highlanders captain Ben Smith said the physicality of the Chiefs made the difference in the first half.

“We gave away too much in the first half,” he added.

 

What happened: It took the Chiefs under two minutes when an exchange of passes between No.8 Liam Messam and centre Anton Lienert-Brown gave space to fullback Solomon Alaimalo to run in the first try with first five eight Damian McKenzie kicking over the conversion.

In the 7th minute the Waisake Naholo of the Highlanders was penalised for offside and McKenzie kicked the ball into touch and from the lineout Messam again provided space for wing Toni Pulu to score their second try with McKenzie adding the extras.

The Highlanders failed to settle down with first five eight Lima Sopoaga taking wrong options.

In the 14th minute from a lineout move Messam broke out and fed the ball to prop Karl Tu’inukuafe to crash over for the third try and McKenzie’s conversion making it 21-0.

It was sloppy play at the back of the scrum in the 25th minute by Highlanders halfback Aaron Smith that allowed Chiefs flanker Luke Jacobson to pounce on the loose ball to score with McKenzie adding the extras 28-0.

In the 33rd minute a deliberate knock on by Highlanders No.8 Luke Whitelock saw him cop a yellow card.

The Chiefs opted to take a scrum and wing Sean Wainui was on the receiving end of a chain of passes to score the fifth try with McKenzie converting.

Leading 35-0 right at halftime the Highlanders were penalised for not releasing the ball and the Chiefs struck again with Pulu scoring his second try with McKenzie’s conversion going over.

Halftime: Highlanders 0-42 Chiefs

The Highlanders came back firing and in the 45th minute from a backline move scored their first try to second five eight Teihorangi Walden after being set-up by centre Rob Thompson with Sopoaga’s conversion making it 42-7.

It was unfortunate that a Highlanders try in the 47th minute was disallowed after Thompson had lost control of the ball in a tackle.

In the 52nd minute Walden again scored the second try with the conversion going wide as they trailed 42-12.

In the 53rd minute Chiefs centre Charlie Ngatai was injured and had to be replaced.

It was 42-17 in the 63rd minute when Highlanders replacement prop Aki Seuli bulldozed his way over to score their third try with the conversion missing.

Naholo had to leave the field in the 65th minute due to a leg injury.

The Chiefs extended their lead to 45-17 in the 70th minute through a McKenzie penalty. In the 74th minute they were a man down after lock Michael Allardice was sin binned for repeated infringement in the breakdown area.

It was in the 77th minute Highlanders replacement flanker Shannon Frizell scored the final try from a forward rush with the conversion missing.

Highlanders wing, Waisake Naholo takes on the Chiefs during their Super Rugby clash at the ANZ Stadium, Suva on June 30,2018.  Photo: Ronald  Kumar

Highlanders wing, Waisake Naholo takes on the Chiefs during their Super Rugby clash at the ANZ Stadium, Suva on June 30,2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Big play: Chiefs No.8 Messam was at his best. He was instrumental in the setting up of their three opening tries. Messam was a hard man to put down and the Highlanders had a tough time trying to contain him.

 

Star play: Brilliant tackling of Chiefs centre Charlie Nagati in the 47th minute saw Highlanders second try being disallowed. That was the turning point of the match. If the try was awarded this would lifted the Highlanders and the Chiefs would have been in for a tough night.

 

Comments: Highlanders captain Smith said: “We’ve a lot to take from this game. We’ve enjoyed coming to Fiji but we’re sorry not to have played to the way they’ve wanted.”

Chief’s captain Cane said: “It was tough but it’s always pretty special to be playing in Suva.”

 

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback: karalaini.tavi@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

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