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The Chiefs stun Hurricanes in lung-busting semi-final

By Ned Lester
Cortez Ratima of the Chiefs. Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

A final against the Blues awaited the winner of the second Super Rugby Pacific semi-final, and the capital had turned out in force to see their team make their bid.

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The Chiefs came out all guns blazing and ran out to a big early lead, which they fought and hustled to protect throughout a lung-busting 8o minutes, eventually succeeding and coming away with a 30-19 win.

A kicking duel in the opening two minutes saw the Chiefs surrender some field position but the visitors turned defence to attack swiftly and an Etene Nanai-Seturo draw and pass freed Emoni Narawa up, allowing the All Black to go to work down the sideline, beating player after player before drawing the final defender and delivering the incredible offload to Samipeni Finau to score the opening try of the game.

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Nanai-Seturo accidentally provided another game-breaking play a minute after play resumed when a kick was charged and found the waiting arms of Wallace Sititi who stormed upfield, finding Luke Jacobson and then Cortez Ratima who finished the effort. By the sixth minute, the Chiefs were up 14-0.

The Chiefs’ defence was pressuring the Hurricanes attack and the home side was guilty of handling errors early.

The visitors were also winning the breakdown battle, and a penalty against Peter Lakai in that area allowed Damian McKenzie to line up a penalty and extend the lead to 17.

Defence

129
Tackles Made
165
19
Tackles Missed
21
87%
Tackle Completion %
89%

A Chiefs handling error finally saw the Hurricanes make some inroads with possession, and they would have struck back through Brayden Iose if it wasn’t for a forward pass being picked up by the TMO.

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There was an advantage being played however and it took just three phases from a lineout just inside the 22 for Peter Lakai to power over the line after taking advantage of Samisoni Taukei’aho pulling out of the defensive line with what would turn out to be an Achilles injury.

The rapid pace of the game continued and Damian McKenzie was pulling the strings superbly, but another try to the Chiefs was ruled out by another TMO check that also resulted in a yellow card to Samipeni Finau for a head clash.

Yet another try was ruled out just shy of halftime when Samipeni Finau was ruled out by the TMO. Halftime score: 17-7

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The Hurricanes came out looking more composed in the second period but the pace the Chiefs were playing at still proved difficult to disrupt, and it was again the Chiefs who got on the board first through a Damian McKenzie penalty.

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A late hit by Luke Jacobson saw the Chiefs captain handed a yellow card nine minutes into the half. The Hurricanes looked to take advantage but yet another forward pass saw Asafo Aumua’s linebreak ended abruptly.

The Hurricanes finally found some hard-earned attacking momentum after that and swinging the ball from sideline to sideline saw the hosts make metres and eventually score through Brett Cameron. The conversion made it a six-point game.

Penalties

9
Penalties Conceded
7
0
Yellow Cards
2
0
Red Cards
0

The Hurricanes quickly made their way up the field again and would have scored again if it wasn’t for another handling error, this time by Josh Moorby as the winger dived for the corner. It looked to be a massive missed opportunity as Luke Jacobson rejoined the game after the play.

A statement performance from Wallace Sititi got even better when the 21-year-old picked up an intercept in midfield and sprinted all but five metres of the way to the try line, eventually dragged down by the effort of Devan Flanders. But, just one pass later Daniel Rona scored in the corner.

A breakdown penalty soon after gave Damian McKenzie another opportunity to push the lead to 16 with 15 minutes remaining, and the All Black nailed it from the tough angle and distance.

After surviving a 15-phase onslaught from the Chiefs, the Hurricanes then launched into one of their own with more success, scoring through Billy Proctor in the corner.

With Bradley Slater injured, uncontestable scrums entered the game and Rameka Poihipi stepped up to take the lineout throws for the Chiefs.

The Hurricanes generated plenty of opportunities throughout the final 10 minutes, but breakdown turnovers from the likes of Quinn Tupaea and Luke Jacobson and stoic defence from the full squad saw the Chiefs home with the win. Fulltime score: 30-19.

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Comments

27 Comments
W
Willie 32 days ago

Far too many yellow cards.
Weak refereeing continues to plague us.

d
dave 32 days ago

Jordie Barrett and Vai’i wouldn't come close to the AB’s on their performances. Barrett is a revolving door on D and Vai’i was the fourth best starting lock. Love Lakai and Sititi. If not now, soon.

D
David 32 days ago

Two of the softest yellow cards you are ever likely to see didn’t stop the Chiefs playing away from home. The so-called AB trial in some positions was won convincingly by the Chiefs.

T
T-Bone 33 days ago

Wallace Sititi

M
MattJH 33 days ago

That was mental. Hope the wounded heal up ok. It’ll be England Vs Whoever Survives after the final.

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