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Chiefs player ratings vs Moana Pasifika | Super Rugby Pacific

By Tom Vinicombe
Alex Nankivell. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

While Moana Pasifika put up a good fight in the early stages of their first home clash of the season, the Chiefs eventually cut loose to score a comfortable 59-12 victory.

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Moana Pasifika struggled at scrum time with the Chiefs earning half a dozen penalties or advantages at the set-piece, while there were plenty more indiscretions from the home team in open play too.

The Chiefs didn’t overplay their hand throughout the match and were happy to quietly build a lead early in the match before eventually breaking out as the game wore on.

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What it’s like being the only non-Fijian player in the Fijian Drua.
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What it’s like being the only non-Fijian player in the Fijian Drua.

Who were the Chiefs’ best performers in the eight-try record-breaking haul?

1. Ollie Norris – 8/10
Earned one individual scrum penalty against the vastly more experienced Sekope Kepu and was obviously influencial in the other benefits the Chiefs accrued at scrum time. Ran hard with the ball in hand – part of the ‘new breed’ of props. Threw a great inside pass to Tupou Vaa’i to create a try. Twice managed steals at the breakdown but lost possession of the pill in the aftermath. Was penalised once at the breakdown in the third quarter. Off in 61st minute.

2. Bradley Slater – 7
A mixed performance. Had some early game yips at lineout time but eventually found his mark. Missed a tackle on Christian Lealiifano that handed Moana Pasifika a great attacking opportunity. Made one excellent break in midfield but somehow could not find a teammate. Thankfully, the Chiefs hit the breakdown and were able to send the ball out to the wing for a score. Off in 61st minute.

3. Sione Mafileo – 7
Part of a dominant scrum that earned two penalties and countless advantages but otherwise had negligible impact on the match. Is that enough, at this level of the game? Off in 61st minute.

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4. Laghlan McWhannell – 8
Industrious on attack, making the equal-most carries of any player in the pack. Was also the Chiefs’ main man at lineout time, taking six deliveries (including one from Moana Pasifika). Looks to have quickly found his feet at this level of the game after being in the environment for many years. Off in 69th minute.

5. Brodie Retallick – 6.5
It was a relatively quiet game from the big man but he made two massive plays in the first half. Got over the ball early in the match to shut down one Moana Pasifika skirmish and then did the exact same thing the very next time the opposition made it back into the 22. Used just once in the lineouts but was in charge of the calling. Off in 51st minute.

6. Tupou Vaa’i – 6.5
Again didn’t look quite as comfortable operating on the blindside flank but grew into the role. Still utilised regularly at lineout time. Copped a silly penalty for lifting at the maul after the Chiefs received the ball at the kick-off, handing Moana Pasifika what should have been an easy three points, had Lincoln McClutchie not missed the fairly regulation kick. Fended off his opposite and showed a clean pair of heels to score between the sticks.

 

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7. Hamilton Burr – 6.5
Toiled away well in his debut Super Rugby appearance. Was the benefactor at the back of the maul for the Chiefs’ second try. Secured one breakdown penalty in the third quarter but penalised once for not supporting his weight at the ruck. Made 17 tackles – comfortably the most of any Chiefs player.

8. Pita Gus Sowakula – 7.5
Quieter than he has been in recent weeks yet still featured prominently with the ball in hand. Penalised close to the try line on defence for leaving his feet at the breakdown. Threw an excellent offload for the Chiefs’ fourth try of the match. Scored one of his own at the end of the third quarter, driving over from close range. Is there space at the national level for this talent?

9. Brad Weber – 6
Looked a bit stuttery at the breakdown but grew in composure as the game went on. Scored one try thanks to good support work. Played the full 80.

10. Bryn Gatland – 6.5
Mostly continued his work from last week, challenging the line when necessary. Scored the opening try off a hard run at the line but was then stepped by Neria Foma’i out wide for Moana Pasfika’s first of the evening. Copped a few big hits from defenders twice his size. Threw a nice flat pass for Slater’s break. Off in 55th minute.

11. Jonah Lowe – 6
Dotted down for a relatively straightforward try early in the first half and popped up in attack from time to time but it was a relatively quiet night for Lowe.

12. Quinn Tupaea – 6
Varied up his game early doors but struggled to exert too much influence on the game. Might be under pressure from tonight’s midfield partner. Off in 55th minute.

13. Alex Nankivell – 7.5
Straightened when he needed to straighten, passed when he needed to pass. Scored one try, cutting through the defence from a five-metre scrum. Just generally did everything right.

14. Emoni Narawa – 6
Generally busy. Showed huge strength down the right-hand side to somehow almost get the ball down over the goal line but couldn’t quite manage it. Had to do little later in the half when he did finally get a meat pie.

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15. Kaleb Trask – 7.5
A strong showing at fullback, especially when he took on the line. Nice early take under the high ball to settle his nerves in his first game of the season. Had a wee nightmare at quarter-time, throwing a dicey pass to Quinn Tupaea (which was knocked on, though it wasn’t picked up by the officiating team), then lost the ball forward in the tackle the next time he took on the line. Some smart work at the breakdown when tackled, pushing the ball into a Moana Pasifika player, to milk his side a sneaky penalty. Made a great run to get on the outside of Danny Toala, draw in Neria Foma’i and send the pass out to Narawa for an untouched run in. Off in 69th minute.

Reserves:

16. Tyrone Thompson – 7
On in 61st minute. Hit his lineout targets and scored one try off a rolling maul.

17. Atunaisa Moli – 6
On in 61st minute. Helped maintain the Chiefs’ scrum dominance but otherwise didn’t feature.

18. Solomone Tukuafu – 6
On in 61st minute. See Moli.

19. Samipeni Finau – 6
On in 51st minute. Couldn’t take his first lineout but secured a breakdown turnover during the following phases. Looked a bit jittery in his first game of the season but put his hand up to make plenty of carries.

20. Josh Lord – N/A
On in 69th minute.

21. Rivez Reihana – N/A
On in 69th minute. Made one nice break.

22. Josh Ioane – 7.5
On in 55th minute. A strong cameo off the bench. Threw a short, flat pass for Nankivell’s try and made one good break himself. Perfect from the tee (although they weren’t the most challenging of kicks).

23. Chase Tiatia – 7
On in 55th minute. Featured prominently in the final half-hour, setting up Weber’s try.

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