The Chiefs squad came off two wins and a bye to travel to Dunedin to play the giant-killing Highlanders in Round 7 of Super Rugby Aotearoa.
Mitch Hunt missed three shots at goal in the first half and the Chiefs had their noses firmly in front, 10-5 at the break. They continued to press and kept the lead until 77 minutes, when after a series of errors and indiscretions by the visitors the Highlanders equalised at 23 all. Finally, a chance to see a golden point period in action!
Josh Ioane had a chance to win the game with a dropped goal but it was Anton Lienert-Brown who stepped up with a magic turnover and golden boy Damian McKenzie broke the golden point deadlock with the match-winning penalty.
Here’re the Chiefs’ ratings
1. Aidan Ross – 6.5
Sloppy volleyball slap at line out time in the 16th minute. He would have been gutted his try was disallowed after a knock on by his flyboy fullback. Knocked another ball on attack in the 38th minute but he was strong in his core roles.
2. Samisoni Taukei’aho – 6
A little wobbly at line out time, it’s generally been an area of improvement for him this season. He’s a real contributor in open play, I loved his series of carries in the 47th minute. Off at 71.
3. Angus Ta’avao – 6.5
Penalised for over extending at scrum time in the 18th minute after getting away with one in the first scrum minutes earlier. Showed some good ball skills with a lovely pass off the left hand at centre but must have been nervous diving for his try and hitting the ground with 2 metres to slide! He got there though with the momentum that 130 kilos can give you. Off at 63.
4. Tupou Vaa’i – 7.5
There was a bit of Maro Itoje about Tupou tonight. Good strong runs early and niggly in defence. Forced an error at the back of a line out in the 20th and bold turnover in the 30th. Off at 71.
5. Naitoa Ah Kuoi – 7
I don’t know if it was the red head gear but the lock seemed to be everywhere. Stole the ball twice in open play in the 7th minute. Stiff defence 9th minute but spoilt it with not rolling. Really animated in defence. and just toiled hard.
6. Mitch Brown – 6.5
Typically tireless showing for his 50th, leading the tackle count. Penalised twice for advancing offside. Nice runout form his line in the 24th minute where a the captains referral was surprisingly used, questioning his fending technique. Was on the other end of the captain’s referral when he received a Scott Gregory neck rub in a tackle.
7. Kaylum Boshier – 6.5
Patrolled the midfield alertly and looked strong in contact. Lovely chicken wing ball at one stage. Big man but did well at 7. Off at 54.
8. Luke Jacobson – 7
Was buried in the trenches in the first half, the first time we really saw him was when he was penalised for coming in the side of the ruck at 41 minutes that led to Aaron Smith’s try. Finally got a turnover himself at 47. Brilliant ball on attack in the 47th and a dagger of a line in the lead up to Ta’avao try. Penalised under his own posts for the home team to equalise 23-23 all but is an inspiration to the Chiefs. An All Black this year?
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 10, 2021
9. Brad Weber – 6
Wonderful work in the lead up to the first try in tight space and did well marshalling and leading. He’ll look at his defence and ask more of himself though. Got sucked in in defence with the line out dummy try in the 11th minute, bumped off by Garden Bachop in the 14th and missed Frizell to allow him to breach the line for the Smith try. Off at 66.
10. Kaleb Trask – 6.5
Is playing well and getting to grips with the demands of Super Rugby. Limped off at 46.
11. Etene Nanai-Seturo – 7
Needed to get the hot stepping going and we saw even more elements of his quality. Third minute lateral stepping, 4th minute strong surge and 5th minute wonderful finish for first try. His left foot kicking is a strong asset for the team as well.
12. Quinn Tupaea – 6.5
Purposeful running came to an end after a twist to the knee at 39. Got up and made a strong tackle which led to their penalty on halftime but it was game over for him at that stage.
13. Anton Lienert-Brown – 7
Just looks strongly determined and brimming with endeavour. A lovely run near the line early on and two game-defining turnovers. The first one on 40 minutes after a good combo with Tupaea in the midfield. Then in golden point time, he stepped up for the turnover off Frizell to seal a penalty and a sweet victory.
14. Jonah Lowe – 6
Couldn’t find the ball tonight but the fact that Nareki was quiet indicates it wasn’t really his fault. Stealthy turnover at 55 to give Dmac a penalty goal.
15. Damian McKenzie – 7.5
Top metres from either team and is worth the money of admission by himself. Shame that he had the knock on mid air that led to the denied Ross try, he’s so brave throwing his body around. He came alive at the 30 minute mark with some incisive running. Missed some crucial shots at goal at the end of the game but it didn’t phase him and he slotted the match winner.
Tighthead @AngusTaavao picked a line and stuck to it
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 10, 2021
16. Bradley Slater – 5
On at 71 and a bit tentative at lineout time. Strange as he was very strong in this realm last season.
17. Ollie Norris – 6.5
On at on 60. Heady play in the 64th minute to create turnover at the line out.
18. Joe Apikotoa – N/A
On at 63.
19. Samipeni Finau- 5
On at 71, had to laugh at his rubbing of Slater’s head when his early jump led to a free kick.
20. Pita Gus Sowakula – 6
On at 54. Missed Scott Gregory first up but carried the ball with his usual energy.
21. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi – 5.5
On at 66 and looked a bit too eager to impress.
22. Alex Nankivell – 6.5
On at halftime. Really love his work on the ball, nice and straight. Popped up to snuff attack at 68 but was penalised at resulting breakdown.
23. Shaun Stevenson – 5
On at 46. Showed how mercurial he is with some up and downs. Always looks though he could break teams open but lost a crucial ball at 73 to give the Highlanders possession.
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