Chiefs test players
The Chiefs were given a significant workout on Saturday night, as they took to the field for the first time in 2014 with a 31-20 loss to the Reds in Australia.
Playing in front of 7438 fans in Toowoomba, Wallabies duo Will Genia and Quade Cooper helped build a big half-time lead for the hosts, which the Chiefs couldn’t chase down.
Hawke’s Bay first five Ihaia West was impressive for the Chiefs, scoring a try and adding a conversion and penalty, while Sam Cane and Jarrod Firth also crossed for tries.
The Reds chalked up four tries, scored by Lachie Turner, Mike Harris, Ben Daley and Chris Feauai-Sautia, while Cooper’s boot was running hot, converting all four tries and a penalty.
Chiefs’ assistant coach Wayne Smith said the match was an important step as they build towards the Super Rugby season.
‘‘It was how we expected it to be and we took a while to get going,’’ he said.
‘‘It was important to give as many of the players a run as possible as it is a long competition so we need to ensure our depth is strong.
‘‘It was also good to test the combinations and we will learn from what we did do well and what we didn’t do well.’’
Chiefs’ coach Dave Rennie had said before the match that his team have struggled against the Reds in the past, and that continued on Saturday night.
Former Wallabies and Waratahs’ wing Lachie Turner scored a try two minutes into his Reds debut.
Ihaia West replied 15 minutes in, darting through a gap after a scrum to score, but Mike Harris crossed for the hosts minutes later.
Ben Daley scored the Reds’ third try 10 minutes from half-time, handing the home side a 24-8 lead at the break.
The Chiefs came out of the sheds the stronger in the second half, with Sam Cane crossing for their second try in the 48th minute.
Chris Feauai-Sautia replied six minutes later with another Red’s try, but sustained pressure paid for the Chiefs, who scored a third try in the 64th minute through Jarrod Firth.
The Chiefs next preseason outing is this Friday at the Rotorua International Stadium, where they host Benji Marshall and the Blues.
Chiefs co-captain Aaron Cruden during a training session before playing Reds on Saturday night.