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Ruthless, clinical Chiefs revel in demolition job against the Reds

By AAP
Chiefs' Emoni Narawa celebrates after scoring (Photo by Michael Bradley/Getty Images)

The Queensland Reds’ season of high hopes and promise has ended in disappointment with a 43-21 submission to the Chiefs in the opening Super Rugby Pacific quarter-final in Hamilton. The ruthless and clinical Chiefs ran in four unanswered first-half tries to lead 31-0 at the break and set up the demolition job on the Reds at FMG Stadium Waikato.

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With three victories over New Zealand opposition for the first time since 2013, including a watershed win over the defending champion Crusaders in Christchurch and round-three defeat of the Chiefs in Brisbane, the Reds truly believed they were title contenders in 2024.

But their dreams were shattered inside 15 minutes on Friday night when the Chiefs raced to a 21-0 lead through an early try-scoring double to hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho and one to winger Emoni Narawa. Ferocious at the breakdown, the Chiefs dominated physically.

But it was a brilliant chip from master playmaker Damian McKenzie and regather and kick-on from full-back Shaun Stevenson that set up the Chiefs’ fourth try – finished by Etene Nanai-Seturo – and a match-winning half-time lead.

Queensland briefly threatened a fightback with the first try of the second half through co-captain and Wallabies No9 Tate McDermott. But normal service resumed as All Blacks ace Anton Lienert-Brown crossed for the Chiefs’ fifth try in the 55th minute to extend the hosts’ insurmountable lead to 38-7.

22m Entries

Avg. Points Scored
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8
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Avg. Points Scored
2.1
10
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McDermott grabbed a second for the Reds but it was merely a consolation as Queensland captain Liam Wright lamented an opportunity lost. “There’s a lot to like,” Wright said. “We wanted to do it all this year, obviously. That’s what every team wants to do.

“We thought we had the chances and we just couldn’t take them there in this game. But we have come up with some really good guys, we have built nice combinations with new coaches and we’re looking forward to what this group can keep producing. We have just got to keep working harder so we are better in these moments.”

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Queensland’s tails-between-the-legs exit from the competition leaves the ACT Brumbies as Australia’s best chance of breaking the Kiwis’ decade-long trans-Tasman stranglehold on the Super Rugby title.

But as well as needing to take out the Highlanders in Canberra on Saturday, the Brumbies are now relying on the soon-to-be-extinct Melbourne Rebels upsetting the table-topping Hurricanes to secure a home semi-final.

Otherwise, the Brumbies will be heading to New Zealand needing to become the first Australian team to win a finals match across the Tasman to remain in the title hunt.

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Mzilikazi 2 hours ago
Is Ireland versus South Africa a battle for the title of ‘world champions’?

Very good article, Nic, and I find agreement with what you write virtually 100%. I think this two mach series has increasingly become one which will be very difficult for Ireland to win. After the first game of the last 6N, I would have been very full of confidence taking on the Boks in SA. France beaten by a big margin in France, it looked as if Ireland had emerged in fine form from the World Cup, despite the very narrow loss to the AB’s. But after that game, a slide began, ending with the defeat to England. Ireland were very fortunate to win this years 6N ! And as you so fully expose, this has not been a good season for Leinster, or indeed, in my view, for any Irish province. The Leinster loos to the Bulls, and then Munster letting a glorious chance slip to the Glasgow Warriors down at Thomond. Man, that one will really hurt. And both Connacht and Ulster have at times looked very poor this seaso, bith heavily beaten on occassion. The loss of both Gibson Park and Keenan are huge blows, especially Gibson Park. And there is really only one clear class 10 in the touring party, Jack Crowley, and he is still a very young player learning his trade. If he goes down, heaven help Ireland. And in my view, Ireland do not have a good scrummaging front row, SA do, and in great depth too. But despite all this doom and gloom, I always believe my team can win. Not that they will win, just can ! Ireland will still field what is the best and most talented team overall that I have seen in my lifetime. But the coaching group will really have to step up, no awful decisions like the one made against the AB’s in the QF….keeping the totally spent and poorly performing(on the day) Sexton on for the full 80mins, leaving Crowley on the sidelines. Ireland should never have lost that game !

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S
Shaylen 5 hours ago
Is Ireland versus South Africa a battle for the title of ‘world champions’?

Ireland have all the tools required to hurt SA. They develop quick ball, hold onto the ball for long periods, stretch the game when its on, have powerful mobile forwards, a good kicking game and they can hold their own in the scrum. They also can force turnovers regularly and in general do well at the breakdown. When Munster, the Ospreys and Glasgow all won games in SA this year against the Bulls and Stormers they did just that and won. It is also the reason why Ireland won the game at the world cup last year. The problem for Ireland is that SA have all the tools required to hurt them as well and hurt them a great deal more than England did in the Six Nations. They are physical and powerful at the set piece, they rush up and counter the Irish attacking system and they can really attack the breakdown and slow your ball down. Their counterattacking threat is also a big weapon and they score many tries from turnover turning defence into offence in a second. Toulouse and the Bulls nailed Leinster in this way and Glasgow did the same thing to Munster. So the series will be really interesting because both sides are so good at countering each other. Interested to see what kind of surprises Tony Brown springs and how the SA game develops. Feel like SA have more potential to surprise Ireland but then a new coaching set up as well as the fact that Japanese and foreign based players tend to take about 5 to 6 weeks to get up to speed might work in Irelands favour. SA have shipped at least one game in 4 of the last 5 June/July test windows going back to 2018 for this exact reason.

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