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Chiefs player ratings vs Rebels | Super Rugby Trans-Tasman

By Alex McLeod
(Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

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The Chiefs have kept their faint Super Rugby Trans-Tasman hopes alive with a 36-26 victory over the Melbourne Rebels in Sydney on Sunday.


Playing in front of a small crowd at Leichardt Oval, both sides utilised the dry track and sunny weather to full effect as a total of 10 tries were scored, but the skilfulness of the Chiefs was enough to see the Hamilton-based franchise home.

With that in mind, here’s how Clayton McMillan’s side rated:

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1. Reuben O’Neill – 7

Got the better of Cabous Eloff in one of the earlier scrums of the match. Did it again in the 24th minute, but was part of the tight five that got collectively outmuscled by the Rebels as they shunted their way over the line for Isi Naisarani’s try. Really acquitted himself well along match long on the defensive side of things. Showed much of what Sir Steve Hansen saw in him when he was picked for the All Blacks on their 2018 end-of-year tour.

2. Samisoni Taukei’aho – 6

Ran hard and with intent when given the opportunity. Faultless at the lineout. Popped up in and around the fringes of the breakdown frequently. Off in the 52nd minute.


3. Angus Ta’avao – 6

Like O’Neill, was shown up by the Rebels at scrum time near the half hour mark, but it was Ta’avao who got well and truly bested by Cameron Orr. Got around the park well though. Off in the 68th minute.

4. Josh Lord – N/A

Left the field with some claret streaming down his face in the third minute. Looked to have picked up a nasty black eye in the process.


5. Tupou Vaa’i – 5

Guilty of slipping out of a tackle on Isi Naisarani and then giving away a breakdown penalty in the same sequence of play that then allowed the Rebels to move into Chiefs territory and score. Looked to get one back on Naisarani early in the second half with a charging carry deep inside enemy territory. A bit flakier on defence than usual, but snaffled a couple of breakdown turnovers.

6. Pita Gus Sowakula – 7.5

Found himself in the thick of things from the get-go. Opened things up with a breakaway down the middle of the park following some sloppy handling by the Rebels and was unfortunate not to bag a try assist from the same play. Very busy with ball in hand, and was impactful with it too. Showed off his skilfulness to play a leading hand the build-up to Tiatia’s second try. By far the best forward for the Chiefs.

7. Lachlan Boshier – 5

Made a nuisance of himself at the breakdown but drew the ire of the referee in doing so. Defensively busy but didn’t reap the desired rewards that has often made him a vital figure for the Chiefs over the past 18 months.

8. Luke Jacobson – 6

Hardly sighted at all in the first half as he made no tackles and registered zero running metres. Picked things up a bit more in the second half as we got himself more involved on either side of the ball and at the lineout, and even stole an opposition throw. Been sensational all year, but probably wasn’t at his best in this match.

9. Xavier Roe – 6

Probably should have scored after he was put into acres of space down the left flank by Tupaea inside the first 10 minutes, but just didn’t have the legs to finish it off. Went about the rest of his work in tidy fashion. Off in the 52nd minute.

10. Bryn Gatland – 7

Great vision and inside ball to put Stevenson in for what really should have been a try were it not for a questionable TMO decision in the ninth minute. His playmaking prowess was again evident in the lead-up to Kaleb Trask’s try, and again when he flung a quality long ball out wide to Tiatia to catch Frank Lomani out and serve up the Chiefs’ fourth try. Extremely brave tackle attempt on Marika Koroibete in the 50th minute as he stormed upfield from a kick return. Certainly one of the more influential Chiefs players.

11. Bailyn Sullivan – 6.5

Soft hands were on show plenty of times. Denied a try thanks to the last-ditch defence of his opposite Lachie Anderson. Caught out of position as Carter Gordon stabbed a grubber kick through to set Stacey Ili up for his try. Off at half-time.

12. Quinn Tupaea – 7

Gave away a silly penalty by entering a breakdown from the side in the third minute. Superb short ball to put Lienert-Brown through for a try in the 21st minute. Guilty of dropping the ball cold while under pressure from Marika Koroibete from a kick-off in the 26th minute. Spun his way through the defensive line to put the Rebels on the back foot in the 32nd minute. Then broke the defensive line in the 52nd minute to kickstart a rampant backline move that ended with a try to Trask. Drew roars from the small crowd for his emphatic bump off of a Rebels player in the 64th minute. Some blights on an otherwise very solid performance. Good to see him back and firing after his injury lay-off.

13. Anton Lienert-Brown – 8

Showed some nice touches of finesse with his offloads in the opening stages. Stunning running line and footwork to canter of for his first try. Used those attributes again to score his second in the 24th minute. Glided across the park with ease as his poise and balance played a big part in the Chiefs’ attack.

14. Shaun Stevenson – 7

Denied a try in the ninth minute because of a “rubbish” obstruction rule, as ex-Wallabies wing and Stan Sport commentator Drew Mitchell called it. Assisted Trask’s try shortly afterwards. Wonderful ability to draw in two defenders before throwing a lovely one-handed offload to put Lienert-Brown away for his second try. Great handling to keep the ball alive leading into Trask’s second try. A real strike weapon for the Chiefs.

15. Kaleb Trask – 8

Good support play to score in the 16th minute. Nice hands in the build-up to Lienert-Brown’s second try. Played the role of the link man well often. Got a well-deserved second try by capping off a silky backline move. Got himself a try assist with a nice offload to Tiatia while under pressure from the covering defence. A very polished performance as the youngster stood up to the task of filling in for Damian McKenzie very well.


16. Bradley Slater – 6

On in the 52nd minute.

17. Ollie Norris – 6

On in the 59th minute. Brought plenty of enthusiasm onto the field, particularly on defence.

18. Sione Mafileo – N/A

On in the 68th minute.

19. Michael Brown – 6.5

On in the third minute. Drove well from a rolling maul but was held up over the tryline in the 12th minute. Applied himself well in the tough stuff. Topped the Chiefs’ tackle count.

20. Zane Kapeli – N/A

On in the 68th minute.

21. Brad Weber – 6

On in the 52nd minute. Directed traffic well and managed to put a few players into holes on the fringes of the breakdown.

22. Alex Nankivell – N/A

On in the 66th minute. Had a 10-minute cameo in the first half as he came on for Tupaea, but was largely anonymous or ineffectual.

23. Chase Tiatia – 6.5

On at half-time. Easily scampered in for a try after just three minutes of action thanks to Melbourne’s poor defensive set-up from a scrum near their own line. Good support play to score his second. A great finisher.


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