Hefty blow for Brumbies, Chiefs run riot in red zone
JEROME KAINO and Matt Duffie scored two tries each for the Blues as they compromised the Super Rugby playoff chances of the Brumbies with a 40-15 rout of the Australian conference leaders in Auckland yesterday.
The Blues are already out of playoff contention but dealt a hefty blow to the post-season hopes of the Brumbies, who are tied on 39 points with Australian rivals the Waratahs.
The home side’s good start – converted tries from Kaino and captain James Parsons inside the first seven minutes – was undone almost immediately when Kaino was shown a yellow card for deliberately collapsing a rolling maul.
Referee Ben O’Keeffe also awarded a penalty try for the infringement, but the Blues continued to chance their arm and exploit space while a man down and scored two more unanswered tries through prop Sam Prattley and Matt Duffie.
The Brumbies, whose attacking game is based on building phases, slowed the game down to starve the Blues of ball in the second quarter of the game and O’Keeffe issued a succession of penalties.
Matt Toomua grabbed their second try following another rolling maul from an attacking lineout before Christian Lealiifano added a penalty to his earlier conversion to narrow the gap to 28-15 at the break.
Kaino grabbed his second shortly after halftime as the Blues managed to hold onto the ball, but neither side was able to move the scoreboard for the next 30 minutes.
Matt Vaega then had a try disallowed upon review by the TMO when Duffie was found to have placed a foot in touch before his pass back in field.
Duffie, however, made up with it with his second with eight minutes left as the hosts hammered home their advantage and got just rewards for their attacking intent.
Seta Tamanivalu and Damian McKenzie scored two tries each as the Chiefs kept up their chase for the top spot in Super Rugby with a 50-5 demolition of the Reds at Lang Park in Brisbane.
The Chiefs, who top the Australasian group, moved to 51 competition points with the victory. It also gave them a six-point lead over the Crusaders (45), who face the Rebels in Christchurch today.
The Reds were reduced to 13 men for the final 10 minutes of the first half with Nick Frisby given a yellow card for kicking the ball out of Lachlan Boshier’s hands while the Chiefs’ flank was reaching for the line.
Referee Nick Briant also awarded the visitors a penalty try. Briant then issued another yellow card to Jack Tuttle less than a minute later when the Reds fullback was penalised for a dangerous charge in the air on Tawera Kerr-Barlow.
Sam Cane and Tamanivalu, who had opened the scoring in the second minute of the game, extended the Chiefs’ lead to 33-5 with the two-man advantage.
Atu Moli had also scored an earlier try following a sweeping movement, with McKenzie slotting four conversions as the visitors ran riot with numerous line-breaks and their ability to put runners into space and pass out of tackles.
The match deteriorated in a sloppy second half before McKenzie finished off a nice break from Anton Lienert-Brown in the 55th minute.
Nathan Harris then scored off an 80metre counter-attack that was sparked by a Reds’ turnover about 12 minutes later.
McKenzie completed the rout with his second following a simple play from an attacking scrum as the Chiefs backs ran superb lines from depth that put players outside them into space. – Reuters