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Chiefs

Last night was such a thriller between the Melbourne Rebels & Chiefs at AAMI Park with the Rebels got the first TRY while Chiefs make up the most of their maximum points via penalty goals and the one TRY. The half-time score was Rebels 11-13 Chiefs. Second half saw the Chiefs extend their lead thanks to their advantage despite having the first TRY attempt being knocked on by the TMO.  Although the game wasn’t over just yet when the Rebels make up back-to-back tries in quick succession where they almost gave a win for everyone supporting at home after they were 23-23 all for a bit, but then an unfortunate lost penalty with only 1-2 mins on the clock saw the Chiefs seal another penalty kick with the win 23-26. Chiefs stay in fourth on the ladder for now while Rebels hang on 6th with another one bonus point going into Rounds 14 and 15.

Damian McKenzie is the Chiefs main man who can get the extra dimension into play with an outstanding knack of kicking into the two posts at 10. Great to see him pass on some good leadership skills that puts his Chiefs team on the map even including under advantage so they can get the job done as being tested with his creativity and direction in attack & sure he still has lots to offer where his spotless kicking conversions has saved the day with the narrow win v a threatening Rebels team. Next up is Chiefs’s No.12 at inside centre/second five-eighth Quinn Tupaea who put in an excellent physical battle to help his side stay ahead. Glad to see him unpack that powerful grit through the Rebels’ wall where the rewards paid off including at the maul en route to his team’s 2nd TRY as if he’s one of the team’s superheroes & he will keep on doing this to win from here. The Chiefs were so relieved to win this game thanks to a great start but then they need to watch out and take advantage with the ball under pressure where they were almost run over by the Rebels. They may be in the Top 4 for now where hosting the home Finals is crucial like it was before but have a tough task ahead with Hurricanes on Friday & then Blues to finish up Round 15. 

And how good was Lachie Anderson when he almost guided the Rebels home 23-23 all until a lost late penalty saw Damian McKenzie seal a successful penalty kick for the Chiefs win by three points, with two tries on the board throughout the 2nd half on the right wing. His speed skills isn’t without question who can get things done quick smart – as seen with the sevens circuit in the past as well as his XVs career where he spent the last few years playing for the Rebels in Melbourne & he’s improved so much with so lots more to come if he keeps on bagging tries like this. Speaking of the Rebels, they’ve come from a long, long way having played so well by dominating the pitch for the majority, but unluckily lost if it wasn’t for the inconsistent play as still no word if they will be back playing next year. There is still two games left & maybe a bit more when it comes the Quarter-Finals with the ACT Brumbies in Canberra next Friday before they will finish off the regular season in Fiji against the Drua .

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The last four weeks of the 2024 Super Rugby season saw some great success with the New Zealand teams still going strong minus the Crusaders still unluckily, while the Australian sides have proven that they are up to the challenge that would make a huge difference to their upcoming Wallabies campaign later this year with three more regular rounds to go.

Then it’s all about Finals Footy once again to round off the season campaign after this from the quarter-final followed by the semi-finals and the Grand Final.

New Zealand teams

The Blues recently became unstoppable having just surpassed the Hurricanes on top of the ladder yesterday as they just got the Highlanders, Crusaders & Chiefs to go, which shouldn’t be too hard to go into the Finals with plenty of optimism for a fourth title. Hurricanes as said haven’t done too bad at times without Cameron Roigard but still had some tough times against Blues yesterday & the Brumbies two weeks ago in Canberra, let’s see if they can hold keep on winning where Moana Pasifika should be easy while Chiefs & Highlanders is a bit difficult.

Chiefs also had some easy wins in recent weeks against the bottom 3-4 teams & the race is on for the Waikato side to hopefully get the job done that might be a bit challenging starting with the Rebels in Melbourne on Friday followed by the Top 2 teams (Hurricanes & Blues). Meanwhile, Highlanders recovered well from their worst trip v Reds (31-0) in Round 9 by putting themselves back in the Top 8 at 7th with some good wins even though it wasn’t pretty. Yes, things are going to get difficult when facing the Top 2 sides other than Fijian Drua in Round 14 but sure they can cause a storm like it was before. 

And last but not least the Crusaders who got themselves another win in Christchurch two weeks ago v Rebels 38-0 with some great improvements to see at times. However, time is running against them as they really need to win big, which won’t be easy against Brumbies & then Blues other than easy finish v Moana Pasifika to hopefully make the Top 8 just in time after Round 15.

Australian teams 

ACT Brumbies are still high and flying bar the Blues loss back in Round 9 as they still sit 3rd with an easy run-in that would hopefully give themselves a good Finals run and then end the drought to take home the trophy. Queensland Reds on the other hand returned to winning ways other than also a close Round 10 loss v the Blues. Now the run-in might look a bit difficult when the Drua is so strong on the home front while they got a few being injured but then you got the Western Force at home followed by the Waratahs again shouldn’t be too hard to seal a good run-in v Chiefs or Brumbies in the Quarters.

Western Force also has a great strong home atmosphere off the back of wins against the Crusaders back in Round 9 & the Fijian Drua last night, which puts them back on track towards an outside possibility of playing Finals footy with the Waratahs next up followed by Reds away & then the Brumbies after that. Then don’t know what to say about the NSW Waratahs when they are at their lowest ebb once again with so many being injured other than two lucky wins v the Crusaders with more losses going against them. The only positive I can say that they’ve put in their best effort to hopefully get themselves up first at the finish line, but then they’re last right now with two difficult games to finish it off (Force & Reds) other than Moana Pasifika.

And the Melbourne Rebels are still hanging in 6th with three tough games to go with two being at home, such as the Chiefs on Friday followed by the Brumbies and then the Drua away in Fiji. It all depends on the other results but they will still make it even it means an extra week of playing considering the Crusaders are still struggling with the Waratahs going way worse. Then the big question mark is whether or not if the Rebels will be back next year & beyond who is still broke despite recent on-field success? We still don’t know when you got a businessman-led consortium group ready to save the club from liquidation but then the powers of Rugby Australia has the final say at Rugby HQ with still no resolution to either stay or go at this stage.

Pasifika teams 

Well, Moana Pasifika had their moments earlier during the season where they were flirting with the Top 8 bubble a few times here & there. However, a recent string of losses meaning they will unfortunately miss out as progress will take a bit more time before Moana can start winning more games from here; They got the 2nd-placed Hurricanes next up followed by the Waratahs & Crusaders, even though all of their final three regular season games are going to be played within New Zealand.

Same goes with the Fijian Drua who always have an outstanding home atmosphere in Lauktoka, Fiji like the Force bar the Hurricanes loss back in Round 9. They might be able to play another week of Finals this year depending on other results with the next two games being at home against the Reds & Rebels other than the Highlanders in Dunedin but their away form still much leaves to be desired which is gonna bite back to haunt them including the 48-10 loss v Force last night in Perth. That is going to be their next big step alongside a new head coach with Mick Byrne agreeing to step up with the national team soon.

Post-notes

2/3rd in with three regular weeks to go as the race for 6th-8th is still on where we could still see an odd upset or two on top of the continued Australian teams’ winning progress & the battle for 1st & 2nd between the Blues and Hurricanes, with the lone Australian side Brumbies and the Chiefs being the outside favourites as they’re all locked up with the QF hosting rights.

While the Reds will surely end up in 5th, The Rebels and Highlanders would most certainly be a given as the Waratahs are unable to improve anytime soon with more injury hit-lists in the treatment room. And who is going to claim 8th?

It’s going to be between the Drua, Force and Crusaders – with the Crusaders hopefully getting the last remaining Finals spot, even though things weren’t the best where lots of new guys have a huge job to fill after so many people including a few big-name players and even the head coach in Scott Robertson getting the All Blacks job have came and gone in the off-season.

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Round 10 of 15 in the 2024 Super Rugby Season during the Anzac weekend saw all 12 teams back in full swing after taking their respective byes over the last three weeks and fortunately, I was able to see it on-site tonight at Allianz Stadium (awesome modern venue btw) in Moore Park where the NSW Waratahs welcome last year’s runner-up team the Chiefs from Waikato, NZ.

The first half saw the Waratahs off to a flying start following the Chiefs early ill-disciplines that saw two of their players having to sit out on the naughty chair (yellow card) for a while. Despite this, the Chiefs were able to move on and level the scoreboard with the Waratahs going into half-time at 12-12. Then the Chiefs were able to extend their lead with another set of tries while the Waratahs began to fall behind. Yes, the Waratahs might have not lost all of hope just yet when a successful penalty conversion and a 3rd TRY might have spark a bit of an outside revival. However, as the clock ticks away towards full-time, the Chiefs proved too strong for them whilst having the last laugh with one more TRY to close it out for the win once again 22-38.

Emoni Narawa has been lightning quick on the Chiefs right wing, having been blessed with the support needed to get things done on the counter-attack that made him so great. He can make things so difficult with his trickery pace for the opposition defenders to try and stop him in his tracks where he punished them not once but twice that puts his side in cruise control.

Here’s another experienced young talent Kaylum Boshier on the Chiefs openside back row at 7 after he kept a good eye on the Waratahs at his own end, so he can turn the ball over, muscle it up & cash it in on return as the rewards have paid off. He’s a multi-talented player with a background in both rugby and cricket who’s got tremendous mobility that reflects his natural game-changing abilities and that is how Kaylum made the Waratahs suffer towards the end with a big win away from home.

Both of them may not had much International experience but they can certainly compete v the best of the rest and that includes the unbeaten Hurricanes in the hope they can translate success in all fronts of New Zealand Rugby. The road to go one better continues as they will be back at home (FMG Stadium in Waikato) next Saturday night v Perth’s Western Force.

And Julian Heaven has converted a couple of the line-in throws into tries for the Waratahs tonight including one for himself thanks to these winning penalties. He’s still young at 23 who might not have gone through the traditional route but his hard work handed his side a huge early headstart off the back of the Chiefs ill-discipline that saw two players sat 10 minutes at each time on the naughty chair. But what’s even naughty is the way his side failed to get the job done at times through open play despite having good possession as the Chiefs explosive counter attack really punished them in the end that handed them yet another loss. It doesn’t look any good from here with the Hurricanes next up & it’s even going to be a long trip to get to Wellington in NZ for next Friday on what is going to be a really tough run-in to finish off this term.

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Round 8 is now done and we are at the halfway stage of the 2024 Super Rugby Season with one more shortened series of four games next weekend while some teams will undertake the required week-long off the field and all 12 teams will then look to bring it home non-stop towards the end of this regular home and away portion. For now, let’s look back what happened over the past month between Rounds 5 to 8 when we finished March while having an Easter long weekend before entering April and the clocks have moved back an hour with all cold game nights ahead after Daylight Savings was over one week ago.

New Zealand teams

Hurricanes still strong albeit Cam Roigard’s knee injury that will keep him out of the field for six months as let’s see if that unbeaten run continues with games coming up v Fijian Drua as well as two Aussie teams like Brumbies & Waratahs. What else? Blues also on the same wavelength as the Hurricanes where they got the Brumbies next up followed by the Reds and Rebels, so won’t be easy when facing Aussie opposition but they should be alright though with 1-2 wins mainly v Reds and Rebels. Chiefs also not bad despite some losses lately v Crusaders in Christchurch a few weeks ago as well as the unbeatable Hurricanes just now & they have a good next series of matches which we will expect to see them again at Finals time. Then Highlanders have shown that they can always stay in the game but four losses over the last month isn’t a good look whose progress is still in the rebuilding phase which will take a bit more time. And on the Crusaders, great to see them win at last two weeks ago v Chiefs. Although they were unlucky v Waratahs again the other day thanks to Will Harrison’s last-minute drop goal, but they are on the right track though lately as they still need to win the rest if the Saders want to play Finals this year.

Australian teams

ACT Brumbies are still unstoppable who currently sits 2nd with games coming up v the Top 2 such as Blues next Saturday and the Hurricanes after that. Can they be the top ranked side in this comp other than being just the best here that saw them accomplish regular semi-finals over the last couple of years? We’ll see. Melbourne Rebels, on the other hand, got away with really good wins off the back of the Waratahs as that team so far can only win v the new-look Crusaders, as well as Fijian Drua who still struggle away from home and of course, the Highlanders by a comfortable margin. They now sit 4th amid financial problems at the start of this year as nothing is still guaranteed whether if they will be back playing next season & beyond.

Plus, the Queensland Reds good start under Les Kiss has turned sour in recent weeks after three straight losses to the Western Force, ACT Brumbies and now Moana Pasifika. The good news is they are still within the Top 8 bubble in 6th but bad news is they need to win games again if Queensland wish to do well in the Finals and not let it slip out with fear like last year when Brad Thorn had his course as head coach. Meanwhile, the NSW Waratahs are still struggling other than winning games v the Crusaders and they too have a series of tough matches ahead after next week’s bye like Chiefs, Hurricanes and also the Brumbies again. And while the Western Force was fortunate to celebrate the rare home win v Reds, they still haven’t been at their best despite having lots of experienced players. Looking ahead, the run-in fixtures doesn’t look any good to them as an outside finals berth looks less likely but surely they will get some wins at home though like Crusaders, Drua and Waratahs.

Pasifika teams

We all know that the Drua like the Western Force and Melbourne Rebels can have a strong home crowd impact which reflects their impressive winning record there but not so much away from home. They got the Hurricanes and Moana Pasifika coming up at home soon to close out April, so this could mean business for them to get back on track to stay inside the Top 8 bubble and hopefully play Finals again like they did during their sophomore campaign last year. And what about Moana Pasifika? They made some excellent progress at last as seen in the early rounds of 2024, although they had some heavy losses recently until Moana beat the Reds the other day but that was against the top teams. They will need at least 3-4 wins now in order to enjoy their first finals experience as long as the ladder doesn’t change that much over the next 4-6 weeks, but again Moana is making some gradual progress on their third year before they can be more like Drua and win more games in the long run.

Post-Notes

All in all, the New Zealand teams are still dominating Super Rugby as the Crusaders downfall should only last this season while Australia has made some great progress too – including a couple of upset wins against some of the established or original foundation teams should I say – with the Brumbies and Rebels being their best so far in 2024. Nothing much will change as wouldn’t mind a couple of more upsets and other team wins that isn’t a New Zealand team or from somewhere in the bottom four, but the only exception we might see is for the Crusaders to win all the remaining games as they can & make the Finals just inside the Top 8 by the time we wrap up Round 12 before all 12 teams will then become eight teams after Round 15.

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What you need to know so far after one month or Week 4 of 15 in the 2024 Super Rugby Season?  Let’s begin with the New Zealand teams who still enjoy plenty of success except one team at the moment despite a huge off-season overhaul. The Hurricanes have been outstanding with no losses so far on top, Chiefs still enjoying success after topping the table & then fell short at the Grand Final bar the Reds loss last weekend, the Blues aren’t that bad without Beauden Barrett only for this year, Highlanders making some encouraging progress after they missed out the Finals last year & the defending champs Crusaders are a completely different team now with four straight losses & as well as a lengthy injury list.

Meanwhile in Australia, things aren’t that bad over here as there’s plenty more to prove after a disastrous year in this sport including an early exit from the World Cup. The Reds new era under coach Les Kiss has been so far, so good other than the last minute Super Round loss v Hurricanes, as well as regular semi-finalists Brumbies still going strong. Plus, the Waratahs may have taken the odd win v the new-look Crusaders also at the Super Round but have unluckily lost lately both on home turf. Western Force still hasn’t won yet despite injecting more Super Rugby experience & although the Rebels has won some games, but only against Force & Moana on what might be their last season since they’re broke.

And Moana Pasifika has made the step up  with some success after a slow first two years, while the Fijian Drua might have also won v Crusaders on home soil in Fiji last weekend but still have unfinished business to prove if they wish to play in the Finals once again in June this year.

Looking at the next four weeks, things won’t change much unless the Crusaders finally climb back up from the bottom that will shake up the ladder a bit. I would be a bit surprised though if we will manage to see just a few shock upsets here & there.

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What a game that is after the Queensland Reds has bounced back from their narrow loss to the Hurricanes during extra time at Golden Point last Sunday to an unreal close win v the ladder-topping Chiefs side tonight on home turf (Suncorp Stadium) in Brisbane. The first half saw both teams going side-by-side with the Chiefs opening the scoring account first with two penalty goals in between the one big score but it was the Reds who hold the home ground advantage going into half-time by four points, 15-11. Now the Chiefs never backed away without a fight when they regained the lead not long after the break (15-16) but then the Reds closed in by a one point trail via penalty goal before they regained the lead and was able to lock the Chiefs up despite the opposition’s huge patient attacking play as the clock ticks down for the win they truly deserved at full-time, 25-19. The Reds will now head back to Melbourne on Friday v Melbourne Rebels at AAMI Park whose other team’s form has been great after back-to-back wins but only v Western Force & Moana Pasifika, so let’s see if the Reds stay winning or it’s the Rebels time. Meanwhile, the Chiefs will head back home to FMG Stadium in Waikato next Saturday night v Fijiian Drua & that team continued the Crusaders’ worst start to 2024 with three straight losses after another home win earlier today in Lautoka, 20-10.

Harry Wilson has played it with pride after he was outstanding tonight in the No.8 Reds jersey, having demonstrated excellent physicality alongside an excellent physical stature to ensure that the Chiefs will have a hard time getting past him. It led to a few tries off the back from the counter-attack where he was able to get behind them as well as a few try-saving opportunities in defense including the last 10-15 mins & he held off well under pressure thanks to their small lead. It all goes to show that he has unfinished business left age 24 where he helped Wests Brothers win the QLD Hospital Cup last year but was also ignored last year by the Wallabies – let’s hope he can keep on going under the radar of Joe Schmidt.

The next Harry spotlight within the Reds squad is Harry McLaughlin-Phillips who made an immediate impact in the reserve No.10 role after he came on for Tom Lynagh earlier in the 2nd half. His conversion kicks through the two posts have been spotless while he made some creative attacking play through the channels such as that cross kick where Josh Flook was able to get the job done & help the Reds fight back up and stay ahead for the lead up front. Looks like competition is heating up there which is healthy to see as part of the blueprint Les Kiss wants to see at Ballymore & McLaughlin-Phillips is one of the young No.10 players who is here to learn and be the best he can be at age 19.

And Shaun Stevenson wasn’t bad on the Chiefs right wing position and he can do whatever he likes with the ball in hand alongside tremendous pace at his prime thanks to his team’s scrambled defensive work as well as the patient attacking build-up going forward. If he played at full-back then it would’ve been a different story where Stevenson can make the Chiefs attack more dangerous with Damian McKenzie in it at 10 and that is something the Chiefs might need to consider next game. Yes, they showed some good fight and attacking threat that kept them in contention all game but they just didn’t get the best out of their finishing play unfortunately when trying to stop the Reds from walking away for the win.

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We are about to enter the 28th year of Super Rugby & yet things are still not the same as it once was back in the glorious 1990s-early 2000s when Australia (Wallabies) benefited so much success right until the 2003 Rugby World Cup. Yes, they won just three Super Rugby championships ever since but that doesn’t mean they are on the same standard as their Tasman neighbours, New Zealand. There has been so many changes through the off-season with regards to musical chairs at players and coaching staff amongst multiple teams. Waratahs handed over control to Rugby Australia recently while the Reds got a new head coach. Plus, Brumbies staying strong as the leading Super Rugby team here, as well as Western Force who are looking to return to the finals with the recruitment of some experienced players. And this week, the Melbourne Rebels entered voluntary administration even though they will continue to play just for this season, despite some star hirings of their own.

Over in New Zealand, most of the five teams (Blues, Hurricanes & of course Crusaders) except Chiefs & Highlanders will now have new head coaches where most of them from last year have joined Scott Robertson at the All Blacks as the Crusaders will begin a brand new era in 2024 without him. He was the one who delivered so many Super Rugby championships including last year’s final v Chiefs & it remains to be seen if the Crusaders can keep on winning including delivering another championship under former Waratahs coach Rob Penney. And for the Highlanders, they are under a big rebuilding phase with Jamie Joseph back onboard to try & return to its former glory as the head of rugby after they missed the Top 8 finals bubble in 9th last year.

We also don’t forget the two Pasifika teams to round off the line-up with Fijian Drua coming off from a great second season before they were elminated by the Crusaders in the last 8 as winning away from home would be the great next step to stay in the Top 8 & Moana Pasifika needs more time so they can really win games after they finished last over the last two seasons.

This year could be a great opportunity to see an even/level playing field where it’s Australia’s time at last to catch up to NZ but despite there will be some really close games, the outcome won’t change much where we will see a New Zealand winner once again whether it’s going to be the Crusaders or Blues or Chiefs by surprise whereas the Brumbies will continue being the best Australian Super Rugby team. Likewise in previous seasons though, the Brumbies will unfortunately still be nowhere near the Grand Final radar either in the quarter or semi finals. Yes, Rugby Australia is going with the high performance centralisation system alongside Joe Schmidt as their new head coach in the hope of also winning games again following a disastrous group stage campaign for the first time ever at last year’s World Cup in France. But the question remains to be seen whether or not if they can support five teams, having seen the Rebels fall into trouble off the field this week? While there will always going to be some Victorian/Melbourne born talent, there’s no guarantee that the Rebels will continue to play at AAMI Park going into 2025 and beyond. For now, the new season will start on Friday 23rd February right until mid-June where every game is live and Ad-Free on Stan Sport while there’s always a Saturday night game being simulcast via free-to-air on 9Gem.

Predicting ladder 2024

  1. Crusaders (champions)
  2. Chiefs (then semi-finalists)
  3. Blues (runners-up)
  4. ACT Brumbies (then semi-finalists)
  5. Hurricanes
  6. NSW Waratahs
  7. Queensland Reds
  8. Highlanders
  9. Fijian Drua
  10. Western Force
  11. Melbourne Rebels
  12. Moana Pasifika
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It was a terrific close match-up between the two sides that kickstarted Week 11 of the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific after 80 minutes of play. The first-half run saw the Queensland Reds & Chiefs share the lead at half-time, 13-13. Chiefs continued their resurgence where they regained top spot, while the Reds fought back as of late. The Semipeni Finau red card gave the Reds some glimmer of hope thanks to Hunter Paisami’s TRY with three minutes left, but they unfortunately ran out of time with a narrow two-point loss, 25-27.

Reds were unlucky to lose at Suncorp Stadium by two points to the Chiefs. They fired off slow and steady through the two three-point penalty goals off fly-half in Lawson Creighton before Harry Wilson opened the scoring account in the 30th minute at Number 8. Although, they were still in contention despite losing the lead later in the 2nd half, on top of another two tries from Josh Flook and the crucial consolation big score in Hunter Paisami, that gave his side some glimmer of hope with only five minutes to go. They were unlucky not to be given time in the end to upsurp the Chiefs, especially when Creighton failed to convert into the goalposts after Josh Flook’s TRY in the 51st minute. However, the ill-discipline robbed the Reds’ momentum where a couple of lost penalties and two yellow cards against them saw the Reds fell short.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs were on the same page as the Reds in the first half with a couple of penalty goals before Cortez Ratima leveled the scoresheets at half-time. But their last 40-minute momentum has to be the turning point, despite the Samipemi Finau red card in the 75th minute over a high tackle on Fraser McReight. They were so dangerous in attack when the Reds couldn’t stop them thanks to their ill-discipline, having regained & extended the lead with another two tries before they held off a difficult opponent through a sigh of relief towards full-time. Credit to Samisoni Taukei’aho at hooker, who completed an execution masterclass that got the Chiefs back in front, while Pita Sowakula extended their winning share where he handled the Reds well with the scrum feed and their defensive half. And Bryn Gatland’s kicking is top-notch as always without error through the goalposts 100%.

The Reds will be back at Suncorp Stadium when they take on the Highlanders from Dunedin next Friday, while the Chiefs will return home to Waikato in New Zealand next Saturday night v the ACT Brumbies.

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Pita Sowakula put in a fantastic display at Number 8 for the Chiefs tonight. He demonstrated so much physicality alongside his tall stature, which gave the Reds a tough time along the way on their home turf at Suncorp Stadium. Sowakula handled the scrummaging like spiderman when the Reds weren’t communicating well before he was legally allowed to wheel at the right time where the rewards paid off; that contribution led to winning penalties and an assist to Cortez Ratima’s TRY just before half-time. And there’s more of Sowakula when he extended the Chiefs’ winning margin a bit further, with credit from his team-mates from the backline, who shared the workload in the attack, so Sowakula made the Reds pay the price over ill-discipline from close range past the TRY line.

Next up is Bryn Gatland at fly-half, who was exceptional in the Chiefs shirt ever since he replaced Josh Ioane in Round 3 this season v Blues. He has a brilliant knack for kicking in all angles that sends a message to the other best five-eighths in New Zealand, having converted all of the Chiefs’ three-pointers and tries between the sticks. He’s also not shy when Gatland has the ball in hand, whether flattening up the attack or bumping into the Reds’ defensive territory. Even though he left the field after 80 minutes of hard work with a minor bruise on the cheek, he’s happy to be the Chiefs’ playmaking and kicking machine every week before sniffing around the All Blacks selection radar.

And Tate McDermott is one of the best Reds players to learn & get along when he first got his breakthrough a few years ago. He’s lightning quick with his pace and passing that got the Reds up and running, especially in the 2nd half when McDermott got around Quinn Tupaea with some room on the far short side and assisted Josh Flook’s TRY in the 51st minute. He also laid another assist to Hunter Paisami with less than five minutes to go, thanks to the Chiefs being down to 14 men due to the Samipeni Finau red card. But unfortunately, it just wasn’t his night when ill-discipline left the Reds too little, too late to usurp in the end.

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It was a high-scoring game between the Chiefs & Waratahs where it kickstarted the three-day Super Round weekend at AAMI Park in Melbourne last night. Waratahs were lucky to have recovered from their messy first-half spell at 30-17 after the break when Jake Gordon’s 2nd TRY almost overtook the Chiefs for the lead in the 50th minute. However, the Chiefs are in cruise control when a hat-trick scoring spree later in the 2nd half from Jonah Lowe sealed them an easy win, 51-27.

The Tahs needed their attacking shape to be on the same page as Jake Gordon. Although, Alex Newsome was the other try-scorer in the 1st half. That is one huge weakness that precluded them from staying in contention over the last 30 mins of this match. Luckily, the 20-minute red card rule gave the back Tahs a full XV men where they made up some lost time. However, the momentum just wasn’t there in the end. They also would’ve benefitted from Angus Bell if it wasn’t for his red card that can form a more robust forward line to stop Jonah Lowe defensively and help brighten up the Tahs’ attack.

And the Chiefs were simply on fire last night. Their attacking shape has been sensational from Jonah Lowe’s four-try scoring spree, including the hat-trick in the 2nd half to Quinn Tuapea’s 1st half double-try. You can see the communication and a few decoy runners lined up together where you saw one player running up & protects the opposition half, while another Chiefs player in the same shirt finds that gap past the TRY line and scores. Although they will need to fix their ill-discipline where Tahs scored back a couple of times, the Chiefs were glad to get one away unscathed, thanks to the read off the Tahs’ poor attacking shape before they unleashed Lowe at the right time that changed the storyline of this game.

Chiefs will now head off to Brisbane & take on the Queensland Reds at Suncorp Stadium next Friday night, while the Waratahs will host the Crusaders at Leichardt Oval in Sydney next Saturday at 5.05 pm local time.

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