Ta­mani­valu and Chiefs crush West­ern Force 53-10

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The Chiefs were at the very best last night beat­ing their Aus­tralian coun­ter­parts West­ern Force 53-10 in Hamil­ton, New Zealand. The Chiefs led 12-10 at the break but pow­ered across for seven of their nine tries in a lop­sided sec­ond spell. Chiefs inside cen­tre Char­lie Ngatai scored four.

The Chiefs have pounced on more sec­ond-half wob­bles from the Force to romp to a 53-10 win and en­sure they stay top of Su­per Rugby’s Aus­tralasian group. The home side led 12-10 at half­time in Hamil­ton last night but pow­ered across for seven of their nine tries in a lop-sided sec­ond spell, in­clud­ing four to sec­ond five-eighth Char­lie Ngatai. Com­ing off a suc­cess­ful tour of South Africa and Ar­gentina, it ex­tends the Chiefs’ win­ning streak to three. It was a third suc­ces­sive loss for the hap­less Force and mir­rored their 41-6 thump­ing from the Hur­ri­canes last week, when their de­fence evap­o­rated late. The win­ning mar­gin was a record for the Chiefs against the West­ern Aus­tralian out­fit, while Ngatai equalled the fran­chise record for tries in a game, mov­ing level with for­mer wingers Si­tiveni Si­vi­vatu and Asaeli Tikoiro­tuma. A heavy travel sched­ule and mount­ing in­jury toll didn’t ham­per the two-time cham­pi­ons. They played at high speed from the open­ing whis­tle, and their classy back­line thrived off a qual­ity Chiefs for­ward ef­fort led by Ja­pan cap­tain Michael Leitch at No.8. Full­back Damian McKen­zie crossed twice to ex­tend his com­pe­ti­tion-lead­ing tryscor­ing tally to six. He also leads the point-scor­ing list with 85 de­spite an off-night with the boot, land­ing three from eight shots at goal. The Chiefs have es­tab­lished them­selves as the com­pe­ti­tion en­ter­tain­ers af­ter con­jur­ing 28 tries in their first five games. The visi­tors’ plight was summed up when the Chiefs chased down what seemed to be a cer­tain Force in­ter­cept try to Solomoni Ra­solea, who lost his nerve and passed, re­sult­ing in a break­down in play. McKen­zie bagged his sec­ond try and Ngatai his last two be­fore the fi­nal points were claimed by Stephen Don­ald.

The for­mer All Blacks first five-eighth was greeted by an enor­mous roar when he nudged over the game’s last con­ver­sion, hav­ing come off the bench in his first Chiefs ap­pear­ance since 2011.

Naisa Koroi

PIC­TURED: Fi­jian-born Seta Ta­mani­valu (stand­ing sec­ond from left) who was part of the vic­to­ri­ous team last night, cel­e­brates one of Char­lie Ngatai’s four tries.

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