The Chiefs continued their fine form with a late 27-14 bonus-point win over the Rebels at AAMI Park in Melbourne.
The game was in the balance right up until the final 10 minutes when Jackson Garden-Bachop’s penalty drew the scores level at 14-all.
However, the Chiefs scored two late tries to end to the Rebels’ resistance and deny them a losing bonus point.
Damian McKenzie kicked a 74th-minute penalty to give the visitors a three point 17-14 lead. Then boom. In the blink of an eye, the game was over.
Shaun Stevenson scored on the hooter following Same Cane’s 77th-minute try as Dave Rennie’s men scored 13 unanswered points in the final six minutes.
The Chiefs winning streak continues while the Rebels are yet to chalk up a single point in any of their matches to date.
The opening quarter was a stop-start affair littered with errors. Reece Hodge missed three straightforward penalty attempts as the Chiefs struggled with Colby Fainga’a and Jordy Reid at the breakdown.
Dominic Bird crashed over to give his side the lead on 22 minutes. McKenzie, who had missed an earlier penalty, added the extras; 7-0.
Liam Messam was soon sent to the sin-bin for leaving his feet at the ruck. Garden-Bachop, taking over the kicking duties from Hodge, reduced the lead to four.
The Rebels struck first after the break; some smart hands from Garden-Bachop saw Marika Koroibete score his first Super Rugby try.
The flyhalf missed the touchline conversion attempt but, a 57th-minute penalty put the home team 11-7 up after McKenzie had missed a penalty.
Solomon Alaimalo was then shown a yellow card for a tip-tackle on Sefa Naivalu. This was another opportunity for the Rebels to add to their lead, however, they conceded a try while a man up.
Brodie Rettalick barged over from close range after a seven-man lineout set up a driving maul inside the Rebels’ 22.
Hika Elliot collected from the lock, recycled the ball back to Retallick, who finished off the move he had started. The conversion made it 11-14 going into the last quarter.
Despite having played with two men off the field, it was the New Zealanders who finished strong. Garden-Bachop tied the game with his third penalty, lending hope to the home support for an upset win.
It was not to be as first Cane, then Stevenson’s knockout blow, left the Aussies wondering, what had just happened?
The final score is Rebels 14 (3) Chiefs 27 (7)
Tries – Koroibete
Pen – Garden-Bachop (3)
Tries – Bird, Retallick, Cane, Stevenson
Pen – McKenzie
Con – McKenzie (2)
Cards – Yellow (Messam, 28th minute), (Alaimalo, 57th minute)
Referee: Federico Anselmi
Assistant Ref 1: Rohan Hoffmann
Assistant Ref 2: Graham Cooper
TMO: Damien Mitchelmore
15 Jack Debreczeni, 14 Sefa Naivalu, 13 Tom English, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 9 Nic Stirzaker (captain), 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Jordy Reid, 5 Steve Cummins, 4 Culum Retallick, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 James Hanson, 1 Fereti Sa’aga.
Replacements: 16 Pat Leafa, 17 Cruze Ah-Nau, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Murray Douglas^*, 20 Jake Schatz, 21 Ben Meehan, 22 Sione Tuipulotu, 23 Ben Volavola.
^Super Rugby debut
15 Shaun Stevenson, 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Stephen Donald, 11 Solomon Alaimalo**, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Sam Cane (co-captain), 6 Tom Sanders, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Sabastian Siataga, 1 Kane Hames.
Replacements: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, 18 Atu Moli, 19 Mitchell Brown, 20 Mitchell Karpik, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Aaron Cruden (co-captain), 23 Johnny Faauli.
**denotes Super Rugby debut
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