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Chiefs player ratings vs Reds | Super Rugby Pacific

By Ned Lester
Samipeni Finau with ball in hand for the Chiefs. Photo by Andy Jackson/Getty Images

An 11th straight victory was on the line for the Chiefs in New Plymouth against a determined Reds side with a dangerous underdog mentality.


The game was played at a pace unlike anything the Chiefs have faced this year and the Reds’ kicking game took away the territory advantage that the home team have enjoyed throughout 2023.

Another uncharacteristic weakness was the Chiefs’ defence, throughout the hectic back-and-forth play in the match, the Reds were far better at organising their line and maintaining structure.

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The Chiefs levelled the game in the 73rd minute but ill-discipline saw them concede a penalty just two minutes later and their last-ditch attempt to steal the game fell short as Tyrone Thompson was held up over the line. Final score: 22-25.


Here’s how the Chiefs rated:

1. Jared Proffit – 5/10

Proffit’s contributions to the scrum were positive and he made some strong defensive impact. In a rapidly paced game, the props were ran off their feet and found themselves giving their best tennis spectator impersonation during the various kicking duels.

2. Bradley Slater – 6

Slater was ready to run from the outset in the match, claiming the ball off lineout moves and picking lines in centre field. Ten carries for 34 metres complimented his ten tackles. Ultimately, the Chiefs struggled to capitalise on Slater’s surprise linebreaks.

3. John Ryan – 6


Ryan destroyed his opposites in the scrum, while the Reds managed to get the ball out on their own put-in, Ryan’s form deterred the Queenslanders from going to the scrum for any set piece plays. 13 tackles without one miss.

4. Tupou Vaa’i – 7.5

Amongst an inexperienced forward pack, Vaa’i stood out as a composed and tireless worker. In the absence of Brodie Retallick, the lineout functioned well. While 80-minute efforts are common for the young utility forward, the dynamic nature of this match highlighted his fitness. 16 tackles on the night.

5. Josh Lord – N/A

Lord had some excellent efforts to start the match, showing presence of mind and vision to make some subtle plays that got his side positive momentum early. Off early with a concussion.

6. Samipeni Finau – 9

I’m not sure why the Chiefs bothered naming Finau in the No 6 jersey when he played like a wing for most of the match. He racked up 50 meters in the first half off his seven runs and beat three tackles along the way. Moved to No 8 for the final 20 minutes and continued to have a hand in everything, scoring the match-tying try with seven minutes left. 18 carries and 16 tackles speaks to the bright future the 24-year-old has.


7. Luke Jacobson – 7


This loose forward trio combined for 29 tackles in the first half, with just one miss each. Jacobson’s impact was significant – 16 tackles and eight carries – but not enough to inspire his side. The stand-in captain was understandably speechless in the post-match interview, struggling to digest the loss his side had just conceded.

8. Simon Parker – 6

Every time Parker lent his shoulder to a collision, you could hear the impact. A mammoth defensive effort saw Parker equal a team-best tally of 16 tackles but was guilty of a team-high 3 misses. Some passive moments in the breakdown led to stifled ball for his halfbacks.

9. Cortez Ratima – 5

No matter how helter-skelter this match got, Ratima was there for the breakdown and was ready to organise his troops as the game formed around him. However, the troops’ attack lost shape as the first half progressed and Ratima’s lone run gained his side no meters of gain.

10. Damian McKenzie – 5

One big strength the Chiefs have enjoyed this season has been the kicking game, but that dominance has been slipping in recent weeks and McKenzie struggled to find the angles or the distance to win those kicking duels in this match.

The attacking structure we’ve become so used to seeing from the Chiefs this year was only present in the dying minutes, meaning McKenzie’s play-making was limited throughout the 78 minutes prior. A lone clean break showed glimpses of the Chiefs at their best but the support game was lacking and the offloads we saw last week against the Highlanders were nowhere to be seen.

11. Etene Nanai-Seturo – 6

Nanai-Seturo roamed behind the midfield attack early, offering some physical carries and engaging defenders before utilising his distribution skills to set those outside him away. While Finau occupied his wing, Etene didn’t hesitate to throw himself into work at the breakdown, helping secure his side ball in both the tight channels and off linebreaks.

While the former Sevens star scored twice, someone might have to remind Nanai-Seturo that he possesses one of the most lethal steps in the game, the winger has made a habit of taking heavy contact instead of using his world-class evasive skills.

12. Rameka Poihipi – 5

Poihipi offers himself as a glue guy in the Chiefs’ backline, making the extra effort and taking the big hits on defence. He made an exceptional ankle tap to save a try in the 30th minute.

13. Anton Lienert-Brown – 5.5

Lienert-Brown isn’t afraid to run it back into traffic and take on the forwards to earn his side an extra couple of metres. This is the kind of match where his experience and voice was needed on both sides of the ball, but Lienert-Brown couldn’t rally his side and influence the match in the way he was needed.

14. Emoni Narawa – 7.5

Superb performances are becoming a habit for Narawa, who was again causing headaches – and ankle aches – for the defence in this one. 137 running metres was by far a game-high and impressive given the Reds’ defensive intent and execution throughout the match.

15. Shaun Stevenson – 5.5

Stevenson looked to inspire the kind of magic plays that we’ve seen from him throughout 2023 but was either not on the same page as the players around him – mainly the forwards who stepped in for the rested usual starters – or was simply well defended. His side could have used his big boot in the kicking duels but he was never utilised in that area.




16. Tyrone Thompson – 5

17. Ollie Norris – 5

18. Atunaisa Moli – 5

19. Manaaki Selby-Rickit – 6

On early for Josh Lord. Was head and shoulders above the Reds in the lineout. Showed some impressive pace to chase down James O’Connor and save a sure try, and his side scored shortly after to complete the 14-point swing.

20. Naitoa Ah Kuoi – 5

21. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi – 3

22. Josh Ioane – 7

Ioane provided great two-way impact off the bench, reading the lineout over-throw to put a hit on Fraser McReight who spilled the ball and then setting up Samipeni Finau for the try in the 73rd minute.

23. Alex Nankivell – 6


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