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Chiefs player ratings vs Fijian Drua | Super Rugby Pacific

By Finn Morton
(Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

The Chiefs have extended their unbeaten streak to eight games this season with an emphatic 50-17 win over the Fijian Drua at Hamilton’s FMG Stadium.


Eight different players scored tries for the ladder-leaders in round nine, including in-form utility back Shaun Stevenson.

The Chiefs shot out of the blocks early and never looked like surrendering their lead, before running away with it in the second half.

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Here’s how the Chiefs rated.

  1. Damian McKenzie – 8/10

Following his player of the match performance against the Hurricanes last weekend, playmaker Damian McKenzie has backed it up with another sensational knock. The fullback finished with a 15-point haul, including a try late in the first half.

  1. Shaun Stevenson – 7.5

Shaun Stevenson just can’t stop scoring tries. If there’s three certainties in life, then the utility back crossing for a ‘meat pie’ has to be one of them. After moving to the wing this week, Stevenson moved back to out-right first on the Super Rugby Pacific try-scoring tally.

Stevenson was in the right place at the right time as some brilliance from Bryn Gatland and Samipeni Finau saw the utility back cross for a score in the eighth minute. He looked like a real chance of adding another to his season tally every time he touched the ball as well.

  1. Daniel Rona – 8.5

Daniel Rona was simply sensational on Friday night. Right form the get-go, it was clear the centre was due to a massive performance. In just the sixth minute, Rona ran from one 22 to the other – setting the tone of the night.

Almost unsurprisingly, the midfielder had run the most metres out any player at half-time. This trend continue through to the 80 minute mark as well, having finished with 121 running metres from 12 carries – 34 more running metres than the Chiefs’ next best.

Rona finished with two try assist as well, including a brilliant pass to winger Etene Nanai-Seturo in the 81st minute.

  1. Rameka Poihipi – 7

The Chiefs went on a point-scoring spree during the first half, and inside centre Rameka Poihipi played a part in that. While he didn’t score any of the teams five first half tries himself, Poihipi put in plenty of work in the leadup to these efforts.

Poihipi made his mark in attack with five carries for 28 metres, had one try assist, and also finished with 100 per cent tackle accuracy from three attempts. The midfielder was replaced at half-time, though.

  1. Etene Nanai-Seturo – 7.5

Let’s start with the bad, and then we’ll get to the good. Winger Etene Nanai-Seturo was yellow carded during the first half for failing to support his own bodyweight – but the former All Blacks Sevens star quickly made amends.


Nanai-Seturo was in the thick of the action once he came back on, and ended up running for more than 80 metres on the night. The winger crossed for a try in the 81st minute too, as he reaped rewards from some Daniel Rona brilliance.

  1. Bryn Gatland – 7.5

Teams don’t score 31 points in a half when they flyhalf is having an off night – it doesn’t happen. The No. 10 in rugby is as important to a team as a quarterback in the NFL; they’re the ones who lead the team around the park.

Stepping into the No. 10 jersey this week, Gatland led the team with poise and determination. His kicking games was especially impressive, and helped set up a couple of tries during a convincing first half performance.

While he went a bit quiet during the second 40, Gatland’s influence on this match can’t be overlooked or underestimated.

  1. Cortez Ratima – 7.5

Fresh of his sensational performance against the Hurricanes last weekend, halfback Cortez Ratima shot out of the blocks in Hamilton against the Drua. In just the third minute, Ratima picked the ball up from the ruck and spotted a gap – ultimately making the Drua pay for their lack of numbers down the left edge.

Ratima also got stuck in on the other side of the ball as well, making a try-saving play with seven minutes to play in the first half. Drua captain Tevita Ikanivere attempted to ground the ball, but the halfbacks knee dislodged the ball and prevented a certain try.


Looking at his core job, Ratima’s passes were crisp and his kicking game accurate. It’s not exactly a hot take but Ratima is certainly appears to be a star of the future.

  1. Ollie Norris – 6.5

Playing in the wet on Friday night, the conditions didn’t exactly favour front row players – but Ollie Norris managed to defy this belief. While the scrum battle was relatively even, the Chiefs prop got stuck in on the defensive side of the ball.

At half-time, Norris had made the equal-most tackle out of any player on the night. By the time he was subbed off in the 47th minute, he had made eight tackles and missed none.

  1. Samisoni Taukei’aho – 8

Without a shadow of a doubt, All Black and Chiefs hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho was one of the standout players against the Drua. Following an uncharacteristically quiet start to the match, Taukei’aho really came alive as the match went on.

Taukei’aho stole the show late in the first half with a brilliant individual try, which saw him bump off a couple of Drua defenders en route to the try line. In that moment, as he often does, the rampaging forward made professionals look life schoolboys – if only for a moment.

In the end, Taukei’aho was perfect throwing into the lineout, ran the ball 11 times, and finished with 100 per cent tackle accuracy from eight attempts. Take a bow, Samisoni Taukei’aho.

  1. John Ryan – 6

Former Ireland international John Ryan put in a solid shift on Friday night, but failed to stand out in tough conditions at FMG Stadium. The Chiefs failed to dominate their opponents at the scrum – if anything, the Drua had a slight advantage in this area. But the Chiefs prop managed to make an impact on defence with six tackles.

  1. Brodie Retallick (c) – 7.5

Playing with the responsibility of the captaincy in the absence of Sam Cane and Brad Weber, veteran lock Brodie Retallick led by example against the Drua. At half-time, Retallick had made the equal-most tackles with eight – just an example of his tireless work rate. Retallick finished with 100 per cent tackle accuracy, too.

Just before he was replaced, Retallick scored a try under the sticks. The score was a well deserved reward for Retallick, who continues to define the term work horse this season.

  1. Manaaki Selby-Rickit – 7.5

Playing in the wet at FMG Stadium, Chiefs lock Manaaki Selby-Rickit was outstanding – but a lot of his hard work may have gone unnoticed at first. After reeling in a lineout early in the contest, the lock began to do a lot of heavy lifting for the hosts.

Selby-Rickit was subbed early in the second half, having well and truly earned a rest. When he was replaced just before the 50th minute, the 29-year-old had made a game-high 11 tackles and carried the ball an impressive six times.

  1. Samipeni Finau – 8

It takes a team to win a rugby game, one player can’t win a match – but individuals performances like Friday night’s display from flanker Samipeni Finau don’t exactly hurt. Every time Finau touched the ball, he ran with purpose and intent, and regularly beat some defenders as well.

Finau played a part in Shaun Stevenson’s try as reeled in a Bryn Gatland cross-field kick, before passing the ball to the in-form utility back. Without a doubt, the flanker was among the standouts in the first half.

By the end of the match, Finau finished with the second-most running metres out of any Chiefs forward, and also made nine tackles from as many attempts. Honourable mention for his work at the set-piece too, having won a lineout on the Drua’s throw.

  1. Kaylum Boshier – 7.5

Flanker Kaylum Boshier had some big shoes to fill this week, but he certainly didn’t look of place. Getting an opportunity to start in the absence of Sam Cane, Boshier ran around the field with a seemingly endless supply of energy and stamina.

Boshier crossed for a try midway through the first half, and had made the equal-most tackles out of any player when the teams went to the sheds at the break. Impressively, the openside flanker finished with 11 carries and 11 tackles to his name.

  1. Pita Gus Sowakula – 7

All Black Pita Gus Sowakula has been brilliant this season, but had a relatively quiet performance against the Drua. While the No. 8 showed glimpses of brilliance, for the part at least, he was kept at bay. By the time he was replaced midway through the second half, he’d made nine tackles and run the ball six times.


  1. Tyrone Thompson – 6.5
  2. Jared Proffit – 6
  3. Solomone Tukuafu – 6.5
  4. Josh Lord – 6.5 – Great to see him back on the field.
  5. Tupou Vaa’I – 6.5
  6. Simon Parker – 5.5
  7. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi – 6
  8. Gideon Wrampling – 7


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