Weekend Post (South Africa)
Chiefs run riot over old rivals
THE Waikato Chiefs downed a 14-man Auckland Blues 41-26 in Hamilton yesterday to extend six years of Super Rugby dominance over their New Zealand rivals.
A relatively even contest turned into a Chiefs romp after Blues flanker Steven Luatua was sent off for a high tackle on the stroke of half-time.
The Chiefs scored six tries and always looked comfortable winners, despite conceding three tries themselves as concentration lapsed late in the match.
The result was their 11th straight win in the North Island derby against the Blues, a winning streak stretching back to March 2011.
The game opened at a frantic pace, with the Chiefs looking more threatening on attack but hampered by some poor discipline and handling errors.
They scored two early tries, the first to Liam Messam from a driving maul and the second when Tim Nanai-Williams’s blistering run set up Damian McKenzie.
But Ihaia West kicked three penalties to keep the Blues in touch and they looked like they could rally and challenge the Chiefs’ formidable defence.
That changed when Luatua was shown a red card just before the break for a high tackle on Nanai-Williams. The Chiefs immediately punished the infringement as Hika Elliot scored their third try from a driving maul.
They had a fourth within two minutes of the restart through Lachlan Boshier and there could have been two more as the shell-shocked Blues fell apart on defence.
Winger James Lowe brushed aside two half-hearted tackles for the Chiefs’ fifth and Anton Lienert-Brown added another at the end of a slick passing move.
To their credit, the Blues fought back and scored two tries, one to lock Patrick Tuipulotu and the other coming when prop Charlie Faumuina sidestepped a tackler.
It narrowed the gap from 41-9 to 41-26, adding some respectability to the scoreline, but the result had been beyond doubt soon after Luatua’s departure. –AFP