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Chiefs player ratings vs Crusaders | Super Rugby Pacific

By Tom Vinicombe
Emoni Narawa. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

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The Chiefs have scored a shock come-from-behind victory over the Crusaders, triumphing 24-21 in Christchurch on Saturday evening.

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Early in the piece, the Chiefs struggled to string together phases but looked strong when they were able to hold onto the ball and forced plenty of indiscretions from the home team. The Crusaders were the more dangerous side during unstructured play, however, and held a 21-10 lead for 30 minutes in the second half.

After holding onto possession and dominating territory in the final quarter, however, the Chiefs were eventually able to secure two late tries to take home the points.

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Who were the best performers in the win?

1. Aidan Ross – 5.5/10
Safe as houses at the set-piece, even winning himself a lineout, but had little impact on general play. Off in 47th minute.

2. Samisoni Taukei’aho – 7.5
As always, a crucial ball carrier for the Chiefs, constantly dragging one or two defenders with him for extra post-contact metres. Absolutely integral to the Chiefs’ success this year. Generally accurate at lineout time with only a couple of misses. Pinged for an illegal steal early in the match.  Off in 61st minute.

3. Angus Ta’avao – 6
A mixed bag in his 50th. Earned a penalty against All Blacks teammate Joe Moody but was penalised once himself when up against George Bower. Generally had parity at scrum time and popped up around the park. Off in 67th minute.

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4. Tupou Vaa’i – 6.5
Had more of an impact back in his preferred position in the second row this week. Put on an audacious sidestep then threw a superb offload to kick off the Chiefs’ best counter-attack of the night. A useful option at lineout time and busy on defence. Off in 58th minute.

5. Brodie Retallick – 7.5
2/3 lineouts. The night started slowly for Brodie Retallick but the big second-rower grew into the match and was crucial in the final 10 minutes with his work around the park. Wasn’t used as a jumper at all in the first half then took three in the final quarter of the game. Was visible on attack and was integral at securing the ball at the breakdown when the Crusaders looked interested.

6. Kaylum Boshier – 6
A surprisingly useful lineout option, taking three deliveries and nabbing one from the Crusaders too. Caught out in the scrum for the Crusaders’ first try. Nice weaving run down the sideline but waited too long to offload and handed over possession. Generally industrious. Off in 62nd minute.

 

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7. Sam Cane – 8
A great shift from the All Blacks captain – kept his side calm under pressure when they were chasing the game and hit countless breakdowns. Secured an important turnover in the first five minutes when the Crusaders were hot on attack inside the 22. Pinged once for not releasing the tackled player. Threw a nice offload during a Chiefs breakout from behind their own goal line but shelled a return ball later in the movement.

8. Pita Gus Sowakula – 7
Mixed the good with the bad. His usual busy self on attack but looked turgid at times late in the piece after shouldering a big load over the opening rounds. Missed Joe Moody early – which would have proved costly if Braydon Ennor hadn’t shelled the prop’s offload. Couldn’t control the bouncing ball under pressure from Ethan Blackadder when Richie Mo’unga grubbered through following a scrum and the Crusaders pounced for a try. Always looked for the offload out of the tackle. Made a last-gasp tackle on Blackadder later in the half to stop a sure try. Sent Richie Mo’unga to the Shadow Realm with a nice fend seconds later. Forced a breakdown penalty late in the third quarter.

9. Xavier Roe – 7
A very tidy showing from the young halfback. Did his part to prevent a try after a Braydon Ennor linebreak, making a crucial tackle on Bryn Hall. Gave his backs clean, quick passes and won’t have harmed his future selection chances. Off in 49th minute.

10. Bryn Gatland – 7.5
The second 40 minutes was his best half of rugby at Super Rugby level. Put up some dicey high balls to start the match and couldn’t find touch from a relieving penalty that put his side under immense pressure, eventually resulting in three points to the home side. Attacked the line more than we’re used to seeing, especially in the final 20 minutes. Hit gaps, threw offloads and delivered the final pass for the winning score plus kicked all his goals.

11. Alex Nankivell – 7
A late ring-in on the left wing but didn’t look out of place. Showcased his strength throughout and hit some weak shoulders too. Looked to keep the ball alive late in the first half, sparking the big Chiefs breakout.

12. Quinn Tupaea – 5.5
A quiet match for the All Blacks second five. Called upon to truck the ball up throughout the match but struggled to make any ground. Threw a hospital pass to his midfield partner early in the second half. Hasn’t yet found his form this year.

13. Anton Lienert-Brown – 6.5
Came into the game later in the piece, once the Chiefs started holding onto more ball. A good link player and was always looking for runners. Penalised twice at the breakdown.

14. Shaun Stevenson – 7.5
Finished two tries superbly. Showed excellent hands and feet to score the first of the match, breaking through a handful of tackles in the process, and then finished the Chiefs’ second with an excellent dive. Dirty play after a Pablo Matera chip-and-chase was rightly penalised. Copped another penalty shortly after halftime. Excellent skills but questionable decision-making.

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15. Emoni Narawa – 6.5
Grabbed a crucial turnover just metres out from the Chiefs’ goal line then made a half-break moments later and threw a money ball to Stevenson for the Chiefs’ first try. Did a very good job holding Leicester Fainga’anuku up over the line after a try looked inevitable. Saw plenty of ball and tried to generate some momentum – ending the match with the most metres earned – but his biggest plays were ultimately the try-stoppers. Off in 61st minute.

Reserves:

16. Bradley Slater – 6.5
On in 61st minute. Hit all his lineout targets under immense pressure in the final quarter.

17. Ollie Norris – 6
On in 47th minute. Kept the scrum secure and was busier than the starting props in open play.

18. George Dyer – N/A
On in 67th minute. Good effort in his Super Rugby debut, didn’t look out of place.

19. Naitoa Ah Kuoi
On in 58th minute. 2/2 lineout. Shelled a couple of balls on attack but tried to get involved as much as possible and was a willing ball-carrier in the final quarter. No problems at lineout time.

20. Tom Florence – 6
On in 62nd minute. 2/2 lineout. Similar to Ah Kuoi, safe in the lineouts and made plenty of carries once he joined the fray.

21. Cortez Ratima – 7.5
On in 49th minute. An excellent impact sub, kept the deliveries quick when the Chiefs were stringing together their attack late in the piece. The Chiefs have three very good halfbacks at their disposal and the battle to back up Brad Weber will be an interesting contest throughout the season.

22. Rivez Reihana – 4
On in 61st minute. Probably tried to do too much, popping up close to the action when it was really the forwards’ time to shine and not necessarily winning the contact.

23. Rameka Poihipi – N/A
On in 72nd minute. Scored the winning try after a simple catch and pass.

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