There or thereabouts throughout, the issue for the Chiefs was again missed opportunity with several small moments that went against Warren Gatland and his men. What will please Gatland, as it has all season, is the heart the Chiefs showed to stay in the fight and improve throughout the course of the match.
Here’s RugbyPass’ Chiefs player ratings:
Ollie Norris – 4/10
Tonight was always going to be about the experience for young Ollie Norris, a name few knew anything about this time last year. A respectable showing that will serve him well.
Samisoni Taukei’aho – 4/10
Nepo Laulala – 3/10
An average night for Laulala, struggling to get the dominance at scrum time but his experience was valuable for the younger Ollie Norris.
Naitoa Ah Kuoi – 6/10
Picking a line out throw against the opposition and getting the ball back for your team while gravely defending is one core skill of a great lock. Naitoa Ah Kuoi has come into his own this season and played well tonight. More than a handful of takes at the lineout, one against the throw, and when given room to run, knew exactly what was required and didn’t attempt any fancy passing moves.
Mitchell Brown – 3/10
Luke Jacobson – 6/10
It didn’t take the 2019 All Black bolter to show how integral a part of the Chiefs forward pack is. Carrying hard, a menace at the breakdown, critical in the lineouts, and a good supportive voice to youngsters around him, Jacobson showed all his attributes from the first whistle tonight.
Sam Cane © – 5/10
Being there to make the crucial tackles, signs were good from Cane early, but sadly it didn’t last long. Fans had to hold their breath for a moment after the inspirational Chiefs skipper took a heavy knock to the neck attempting to make a tackle on Jordie Barrett. The best news is that Cane got to this feet and left the field unaided, bringing his night to a premature end in the 26th minute.
Pita Gus Sowakula – 5/10
The big Fijian proved a handful for even the best Hurricanes defenders, carrying hard and showing his power. At times guilty of trying to force an offload to keep the Hurricanes guessing, the key to Sowakula’s game moving forward will be backing his pace and power, because that’s starting to provide solid return.
Brad Weber – 3/10
Again a bit slow on the pass, Weber appears to have lost a bit of spice to his game but has constantly looked like one trick away from re-igniting again.
Kaleb Trask – 6/10
Did exactly what was required of him tonight, just go out there and play. What was noticeable is that Trask backed his decision making, went after gaps in the Hurricanes defence. Freedom and backing is what Trask needs right now – these experiences will suit him well moving forward.
Sean Wainui – 7/10
Wainui is undoubtedly one of the better stories for the Chiefs this season. More often than not, when the proud Maori has ball in hand, chances are he will look to do something to ignite good go forward ball. That attitude was clear again tonight, leading the Chiefs backline in running metres by a clear margin and scoring a try.
Alex Nankivell – 3/10
Flaws in Nankivell’s game are clearly on defence. Guilty of ball watching, Nankivell proved easy work for the in-form Umaga-Jenson who easily took advantage of space to brush past his midfield rival on route to his first try. On the other side of the ball, when Nankivell carries, he’s always a handful.
Anton Lienert-Brown – 4/10
As always a strong carrier, Lienert-Brown made some good gains into the Hurricanes defence tonight but didn’t have enough opportunities with ball in hand. Strong when defending as always.
Shaun Stevenson – 3/10
Damian McKenzie – 4/10
Always dangerous with ball in hand, McKenzie kicked more than fans would be used to once again in this game. On the occasions the smiling assassin did run and carry, typically things began to happen for the Chiefs. With more good territory, McKenzie will return to his form of old, but right now is clearly short on a bit of confidence despite his strong accuracy on goal.
The bench players:
Bradley Slater 5/10
Notching a try for the Chiefs late in the game off the back of a rare driving maul, Slater has established himself as a strong contender for the top lineout thrower. Nobody in this team more deserving than a bit of limelight for his efforts.
Angus Ta’avao – 3/10
Tupou Vaa’I – 3/10
Mitchell Karpik – 5/10
A couple of good turnovers after being forced to come off the bench early, Karpik would’ve enjoyed more time on the grass and proved reliable for the Chiefs in absence of Sam Cane, not for the first time in his career.
Lisati Milo-Harris – 3/10
Quinn Tupaea – 3/10
Kini Naholo** – 3/10
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