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Chiefs thump Brumbies to keep New Zealand's unbeaten Super Rugby run over Australia alive

By Alex McLeod

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The Chiefs have highlighted the gulf in class between New Zealand and Australian Super Rugby sides with a 40-19 Trans-Tasman belting of the Brumbies in Hamilton.

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The Chiefs piled on six tries to three in a near-record rout at FMG Stadium Waikato on Saturday night.

The match pitted the respective runners-up of the 2021 Super Rugby Aotearoa and Super Rugby AU competitions against each other.

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But the Brumbies finished a clear second best despite pushing New Zealand’s championship-winning Crusaders all the way in a 31-29 defeat last week.

Only a late try to strike forward Rob Valetini with seconds remaining saved the Brumbies from their heaviest-ever loss to the Chiefs.

As well as Valetini, replacement halfback Issak Fines, who set up two second-half tries with his energy and class after only being injected in the 58th minute, was a shining light for the Brumbies.

Worryingly, though, not only for coach Dan McKellar but also Wallabies mentor Dave Rennie, the Brumbies, Queensland Reds, Western Force, Melbourne Rebels and NSW Waratahs are now a collective none from nine against Kiwi opposition two rounds into the tournament.

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Brumbies assistant coach Rod Seib pulled no punches when assessing the Brumbies’ performance.

“It’s been very frustrating. Obviously it’s a contact game, rugby, and we’ve certainly got a lesson from the Chiefs in the contact area,” Seib said.

“Defensively we haven’t fronted up and from an attacking sense we’ve certainly lost the contact.

“We came with a direct plan to have a lot of strong carries but we obviously haven’t done that tonight.”

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It was game on early, with the Brumbies quickly cancelling out Tupou Vaa’i’s fourth-minute try for the Chiefs with Len Ikitau’s reply soon after.

But the Chiefs upped the ante and had the Brumbies stretched in every department for the remainder of the first half.

Too fast in open play and to o strong at set piece, the Chiefs’ next two tries bot h came from No.8 Luke Jacobson at the back of the scrum as the hosts went to the break leading 19-5.

The Brumbies were lucky not to be trailing by more, enjoying a reprieve when Chiefs halfback Brad Weber knocked on with the try-line beckoning after the halftime siren sounded.

The Chiefs also had another first-half try denied after replays revealed an Anton Lienert-Brown knock-on in the lead-up.

But the Chiefs ran away with the match in the second half as Lienert-Brown, centre Alex Nankivell and goal-kicking flyhalf Damian McKenzie – who finished with a personal 15-point haul – more than offset Brumbies five-pointers for Valetini and reserve playmaker Bayley Kuenzle.

Chiefs 40 (Tries to Tupou Vaa’i, Luke Jacobson (2), Damian McKenzie, Alex Nankivell and Anton Lienert-Brown; 5 conversions to McKenzie)

Brumbies 19 (Tries to Len Ikitau, Bayley Kuenzle and Rob Valetini; 2 conversions to Noah Lolesio)

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Chiefs thump Brumbies to keep New Zealand's unbeaten Super Rugby run over Australia alive

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