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Chiefs player ratings vs Highlanders | Super Rugby Pacific

By Jack O'Rourke
(Photo by James Allan/Getty Images)

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Chiefs got their Super Rugby Pacific season underway against the Highlanders at Wakatipu Rugby Club in Queenstown. The clash had a provincial feel to it, with both teams shaking off the rust. 

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Chiefs took control of the game early under the watch of new flyhalf Josh Ioane and never looked too rattled despite a late charge by the Highlanders in the second half. Chiefs emerged victorious 26-16 with a late penalty goal to put it beyond doubt. 

This is how the Chiefs rated:

1. Ollie Norris – 6

The 22-year old prop picked up the slack at scrum time when the lineout failed to fire. Did some hard carrying to keep the Chiefs going forward in attack. 

2. Bradley Slater – 4.5

Tough day for Slater as he struggled out of the gates. He was shaky with his lineout throws leading to a few missed opportunities. Replaced shortly after halftime. 

3. Sione Mafelio – 6

The hard-running tighthead was serviceable and got around the park to support his forwards. Did his job at scrum time as the Chiefs won a few against the head. 

4. Laghlan McWhannell – 6

Carried through the middle to earn some hard-fought metres. Allowed the Chiefs to set a strong platform for the backs. Provided some tall timber in the line-out and improved as the game went on. 

5. Brodie Retallick – 7

The All Blacks lock was back and ready to unleash. Was at his best and led from the front in set-piece. Managed an out-the-back flick ball to set up his fullback Narawa for a try. 

6. Luke Jacobson – 5

Was industrious as ever for the Chiefs but was unfortunately replaced at halftime after suffering a knock. 

7. Sam Cane – 7.5

Had a big impact in the Chiefs first hit-out. Got the opening try of the game by backing up Nankivell. It was encouraging to see him put his hand up in defence making 11 tackles and terrorised the Highlanders rucks all game 

8. Pita Gus Sowakula – 8

Was damaging around the grounds. Pulled off an athletic try by hurdling over Aaron Smith to score in the corner just before half time. Created plenty of chances for the Chiefs through strong carrying and offloading. 

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9. Xavier Roe – 7

The exciting young scrumhalf set the tempo early. Set up the Chiefs first try through a cheek dart off the scrum and offloaded to Nankivell. His kicking from the base of the ruck put his team in great field position and even managed to bag himself a 50/22. 

10. Josh Ioane – 7

It was an impressive debut in Chiefs colours for the flyhalf. He opened the scoring for the day  with a penalty goal and kept the scoreboard ticking throughout the game. He was prepared to play at the line and chance his arm with some wide cut-out passes to create space for his outside backs. 

11. Jonah Lowe – 5

Took his chances when he received the ball but was well contained by his opposite number. 

12. Quinn Tupaea – 5.5

Had a quiet day by his standards after a bis season in Super Rugby last year. Had some strong runs through the middle and still made 47 metres. Was staunch in defence.

13. Alex Nankivell – 6

Was involved in the Chiefs opening try, popping off to Sam Cane who went under the posts. In defence he didn’t allow the Highlanders much room to move through the middle. Lost the pill in a few carries towards the end of the game. 

14. Shaun Stevenson – 6.5

Found plenty of space on the wing and choose his moments to slice through the defence, making over 55 metres. Was solid in defence and didn’t let too much traffic through down his sideline. 

15. Emoni Narawa – 6

The excitement machine at the back was well-contained but did have a few breakout moments. Went looking for work and was the beneficiary of a miraculous Retallick offload to score in the second half. 

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Reserves

16. Samisoni Taukei’aho – 6

Was impactful at scrum time when he come on after halftime. Gave away a few penalties at the ruck. Put on the afterburners to chase a Fakatava kick to save a try in the 80th minute. 

17. Atu Moli – N/A

Gave away a penalty in his first scrum of the game but soon got back on track. 

18. Angus Ta’avao – 6

Always handy to bring on an All Black prop. He was solid in the scrum, winning a crucial penalty when the Highlanders were on the march in the 60th minute. 

19. Naitoa Ah Kuoi – 5

Came on at the 66th minute and had five carries for 18 metres. 

20. Kaylum Boshier – 5

Started the second half in place of Jacobson and was a menace in the ruck. 

21. Brad Weber – 6

Lifted the tempo when he came on and his service was crisp. Was always a threat from the base of the ruck. 

22. Bryn Gatland – 5.5

Got a big portion of the second half to lead around the backline but couldn’t impose himself. Was handy off the boot to keep the Highlanders at a distance. 

23. Chase Tiatia – N/A

Came on at the 66th minute but didn’t have much impact on the game.

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