Chiefs book Super Rugby semi-final spot

05 Jun, 2022 - 00:06 0 Views
Chiefs book Super Rugby semi-final spot

The Sunday Mail

Chiefs captain Brad Weber bagged two tries as his side outclassed the Waratahs 39-15 yesterday in Hamilton to book a Super Rugby Pacific semifinal against the Crusaders. The home side conjured five tries to two, setting up victory with superior finishing to the Australian outfit, who were competitive in most departments but guilty of mistakes at the attacking end.

The Chiefs’ reward is a semi-final against the 12-time champion Crusaders, who cast aside the Reds 37-15 in another trans-Tasman quarterfinal in Christchurch on Friday.

Weber said the prospect will not fluster his team. “What an awesome challenge to play the defending champs at home,” he said.

“We have beaten them once this season, so we will look to make it two.”

The dramatic win over the Fijian Drua, when the Chiefs staved off a storming finish from the hosts in Lautoka, played a part in their strong performance.

“It was bloody good for the lungs and the fitness. This felt easy compared to our last game,” he said.

“The way that we finished tonight (yesterday), we have probably got the Fijians to thank for that.”

While well beaten, the Waratahs could reflect on a season of vast improvement.

They were win-less in 2021 but took strides under first-year coach Darren Coleman to qualify sixth for the quarter-finals.

Skipper Jake Gordon said apart from a couple of heavy losses to the Chiefs — including a 51-27 defeat in Melbourne in April — his players could be satisfied with their progress. “Last year was a tough year for the franchise and the team,” he said.

“To bounce back like we have… we have a lot of growth left in us.”

Bryn Gatland kicked 14 points to lift him to the top of the competition’s point-scoring list, and produced a composed display in tandem with halfback Weber, behind a physical Chiefs pack.

Weber’s early try, from a smart lineout move, was matched by Waratahs winger Dylan Pietsch.

The teams entered the second quarter with the scores locked 10-10 before the home side took control through tries to Luke Jacobson and Alex Nankivell.

Gatland’s penalty on the stroke of halftime put the Chiefs 27-10 ahead, but the Waratahs threatened to mount a fightback soon after the break when loose forward Will Harris completed a spectacular 90m try.

However, Weber and Pita Gus Sowakula both crossed late to secure a sixth straight win in matches against the Waratahs. — AFP.

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