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Chiefs player ratings vs Blues | Super Rugby Pacific

By Tom Vinicombe
Etene Nanai-Seturo. (Photo by John Cowpland/Photosport)

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Despite the Chiefs forwards generally holding dominance over the Blues at on Saturday night, poor decision-making and a lack of composure meant the Blues were able to secure an impressive 25-0 win at Waikato Stadium.

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The Blues had the run of the play in the first 15 minutes after Kaylum Boshier was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle, building a 13-0 lead, but the momentum started to shift in the home side’s favour once they returned to their full contingent. Despite the Blues losing three men to yellow cards, the Chiefs were never able to land any sort of solid punch on their opposition and would have finished the match rueing countless missed opportunities.

With their heads bowed in the final quarter after failing to capitalise on all their chances, the Blues scored a final try and consigned the Chiefs to their first-ever nilling.

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Dan Carter identifies the keys to success for the All Blacks at next year’s Rugby World Cup.

How did the Chiefs rate in the overall disappointing effort?

1. Aidan Ross – 5.5
Made an excellent cover tackle on Beauden Barrett to prevent a Blues counter-attack in the second quarter but and went toe to toe with Ofa Tuungafasi in the set-piece, never giving up an inch. Penalised for advancing following a kick, gifting the Blues three easy points. Off in 46th minute.

2. Samisoni Taukei’aho – 6
Bang on target at lineout time, hitting 13 from 14. Relatively container with ball in hand – though always drew in a couple of defenders. Penalised once for getting offside and once for going off his feet at the breakdown. Didn’t quite have the pace to shut down Tom Robinson en route to the Blues’ first try. Dropped the ball over the line. Off in 55th minute.

3. Angus Ta’avao – 4.5
Knocked on early then was penalised at the next two scrums. Eventually found some parity with opposite Alex Hodgman and exerted some dominance when the Chiefs went a man up – but they weren’t able to capitalise. Off in 55th minute.

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4. Josh Lord – 6.5
Some good work at the lineout and the breakdown at the beginning of the second quarter earned the Chiefs possession. Always looked for the offload out of the tackle and was generally useful on the carry. Needed a bit of support when he managed to get so many Blues ball-carriers held up off the ground but couldn’t do it all on his own. One of many Chiefs players whose offside defence on the goal line gave the Blues an advantage to play with. Off in 55th minute.

5. Naitoa Ah Kuoi – 6.5
Grabbed nine out of his 10 lineout deliveries and was a strong cog in the Chiefs forward pack. Industrious on both attack and defence, didn’t let his team down by any means.

6. Kaylum Boshier – 3
A step backwards for the young flanker, who has been so impressive in his prior starts. Became the first Chiefs player of the year to be handed a yellow card after making a lifting tackle on Josh Goodhue. Nabbed an early lineout steal. Off in 46th minute.

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7. Sam Cane – 5
A hugely disappointing display from the captain – especially given all the rhetoric coming out of the Chiefs camp about making up for their disappointing breakdown work against the Crusaders in their previous game in Hamilton. Twice did a poor job at attempting to secure the ball at the breakdown in the first half, with the Blues promptly turning the ball over. Penalised for obstruction early in the second half. Disrupted Sam Nock at the breakdown on two occasions to earn the Chiefs possession. Copped a penalty late in the piece for not releasing the ball after getting tackled. As captain, needed to set the referee straight in the final quarter when Paul Williams let the Blues get away with loading just seven players in the uncontested scrums. Made a match-high 14 tackles.

8. Pita Gus Sowakula – 7
Trucked the ball up 16 times and was generally good at generating momentum. One big grass-cutter tackle on Rieko Ioane shut down the Blues momentum and allowed Quinn Tupaea to get over the ball for a turnover. If he had been able to control the ball better at the base of the scrum, a try for the Chiefs seemed inevitable. A great counter-ruck at the beginning of the second half earned the Chiefs a breakdown penalty.

9. Brad Weber – 4.5
Hasn’t always had the best ball to deal with this year and struggles to take control of a match when that’s the case. When the Blues were on a warning, he needed to control the game and keep the ball in close to the ruck. Some very scrappy play around the 20-minute mark resulted in two turnovers while the Chiefs were on attack. Knocked the ball on when the Chiefs were looking likely at the beginning of the second half. When he’s on, he’s on – but he was very much off tonight. Off in 50th minute.

10. Bryn Gatland – 3
After some strong performances earlier in the season, looked well off the pace against the Blues. Lobbed the kick-off out on the full after the Blues’ first try, immediately putting his team back on the defensive. Started attacking the line towards the end of the first half but wasn’t relatively well contained by the Blues defence. Wasted the Chiefs’ first scrum advantage towards the end of the first half by tossing a speculative ball to no one and that wasn’t the only time he was guilty of just passing the ball and hoping there’d be someone to catch it. Has to cop some of the blame for the poor ball delivered to the backline.

11. Etene Nanai-Seturo – 7.5
Needed to make a statement after a poor effort last weekend – and that he did. Comfortably the most incisive player in the Chiefs line-up and was on fire in the second half. Made a scything run in the early in the second period to score what would have been a great individual try, but it was called back for obstruction then made a great run down the left-hand flank moments later but was narrowly pushed over the sideline by two Blues defenders. Grabbed one turnover late in the piece. On the other side of the ledger, he was caught offside for the Blues’ first attacking foray and couldn’t deliver the pass to an unmarked Chase Tiatia on the wing at the three-quarter mark, with another possible try gone begging.

12. Alex Nankivell – 3
Barely featured in his 50th Super Rugby game, making four runs for just two metres while also notching up only two tackles. Alongside Quinn Tupaea, was penalised early in the match for defending in an offside position.

13. Anton Lienert-Brown – N/A
Left the field just seven minutes into the match after injuring his shoulder in an early breakdown after making a good covering tackle.

14. Jonah Lowe – 4
Had zero impact on the match before departing in the 31st minute after taking a knock to the thigh.

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15. Chase Tiatia – 4.5
Made a couple of good runs in the second half but otherwise, like the rest of his backline, barely featured.

Reserves:

16. Bradley Slater – 5
On in 55th minute. The lineout got a bit scrappier with Slater on the park but the Chiefs still managed to retain possession from all six of his deliveries.

17. Ollie Norris – 5
On in 46th minute. Better around the park than the man he replaced but despite his toil, wasn’t able to add much in the way of impact.

18. George Dyer – 5
On in 55th minute. Didn’t take a backwards step at scrumtime and was just starting to find some dominance when Golden Oldies took over.

19. Samipeni Finau – 4.5
On in 55th minute. Grabbed three lineouts but otherwise added little in his 25 minutes on the park.

20. Luke Jacobson – 6.5
On in 46th minute. Added some impact off the bench and looked good when ranging out in the wider channels. Will take over as the first-choice No 6 now that he’s had a few runs off the bench since returning from injury.

21. Cortez Ratima – 6
On in 50th minute. Had to deal with some scrappy presentation from the Chiefs forwards but generally managed the game well.

22. Quinn Tupaea – 4
On in 7th minute. Another case of getting considerably more minutes than he would have been expecting, having started all six of the Chiefs’ matches prior to tonight’s fixture. Penalised for offside defending. Rieko Ioane managed to get on his outside from a midfield scrum, earning the Blues truckloads of territory and momentum. Secured a good breakdown steal to shut down a Blues attack in the 31st minute. Dropped the ball cold in the final minute to sum up the Chiefs game.

23. Rivez Reihana – 6.5
On in the 31st minute. The longest run he’s had at this level of the game and looked composed. Managed to avoid the first tackle on more than one occasion and was safe in the backfield.

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