Super Rugby

McKenzie shines as Chiefs crush Sunwolves




A Damian McKenzie masterclass propelled the Chiefs to a 10-61 drubbing of the Sunwolves at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo.

This was the Damian McKenzie Show, the standoff scoring 26 points, including two wonderful tries.

Everything good for the Chiefs comes through the diminutive 22-years-old, who is without a doubt, a superstar in the making.

McKenzie also had a hand in Solomon Alaimalo’s first try after a stunning midfield break and Sean Wainui’s 80th-minute try.

The New Zealanders ran in nine tries, four in the first 20 minutes, effectively ending the game as a contest inside the opening quarter.

The Sunwolves‘ had a nightmare with their set-pieces and their defence of the wide channels.

They hit back with two tries of their own, either side of the interval, to reduce the deficit to 18.

However, the Kiwis could not be kept quiet for long, scoring twice in seven minutes to open up a 30-point 10-40 lead, going into the final quarter.

The rout was completed with Liam Polwart’s 75th-minute score brought up the Chiefs’ half-century.

Wainui latched on to Damian McKenzie’s deft chip-kick, capping off a scintillating display by the Waikato men.

Lightning fast start by the Kiwis

Any hope that the Sunwolves had of causing an unlikely upset, disappeared inside the opening quarter when they conceded 28 points.

The Japanese side ran last year’s runners-up the Lions very close, losing 40-38 after a spirited performance in Johannesburg.

It was not the long journey back from South Africa that did for Jamie Joseph’s chargers, it was the class of the New Zealanders – and their electric first-five eight.

Tyler Ardron opened the scoring in the fourth minute. The Canadian had a magnificent match which included three barnstorming runs during the game.

Brodie Retallick, who was his usual best, crossed after Taleni Seu’s break from an attacking scrum.

Hooker Nathan Harris waltzed over next after a slick one-two with scrumhalf Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi at the front of the lineout.

The match was over, three minutes’ later when Alaimalo crossed after a deep counter-attack.

A poor kick was gathered by Marty McKenzie, combining with brother Damian, who spun out of a tackle and raced through a hole in midfield.

Tahuriorangi, who had a hand in a couple of scores, supported his flyhalf before giving the ball to Alaimalo for the Chiefs’ fourth.

McKenzie kicked his fourth conversion to make it 28-nil to the tourists.

Sunwolves set-piece and defensive troubles.

The Sunwolves were having familiar lineout and scrum troubles, losing a scrum and four lineouts in the first-half, although, they fixed the issues after the break, losing only one more scrum.

The Hamilton men found space aplenty on the outside channels, spreading the ball and stretching the opposition with ease.

When the wide channels were closed down, the Kiwis went through the middle. The Sunwolves missed 20 tackles which against a high calibre attack, is criminal, yet not unusual.

Sunwolves hit back as Chiefs go to sleep.

The home support thought Hosea Saumaki had scored when he crashed over from close range after Timothy Lafaele’s carry.

But the TMO ruled that the winger lost the ball over the goal-line when the replays showed grounding.

It did not matter. Semisi Masirewa was in for the score after taking Michael Leitch’s inside pass.

It came from Yu Tamura and Willie Britz’s two skip-passes which opened up space and gave the Sunwolves numbers on the outside.

There was more jubilation after a stunning score by Hosea Saumaki.

The left-wing handed off Harris with his right hand and beat Damian McKenzie, before racing away to score to the delight of the home support.

Tamura missed both conversions, but the Chiefs had been given a bloody nose.

The tries are indicative of the attacking quality the Sunwolves possess and has been seen in the past two seasons of Super Rugby.

The joy was short-lived and only seemed to waken the beast.

Damian McKenzie scored soon after.

The standoff played a long skip-pass to Toni Pulu, who made some metres before offloading back to McKenzie for the try.

A 60-metre surge down the field by Ardron set up Alaimalo for his second.

McKenzie had his second after a turnover and box-kick from Tahuriorangi.

The Sunwolves had been on the offensive, coughed up possession, and with fullback Ryuji Noguchi in the line, there was nobody at home.

Polwart beat Britz and went in under the posts, bringing up his side’s fifty.

With the clock ticking down, another substitute grabbed a five-pointer.

There was still time for Wainui to finish the opposition off.

Final score: Sunwolves 10 (5) Chiefs 61 (28)


Tries – Masirewa, Saumaki
Pen –
Con –
Drop –
Cards –

Tries – Ardron, Retallick, Harris, Alaimalo (2), D. McKenzie (2), Polwart, Wainui
Pen –
Con – D. McKenzie (8)
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Will Houston
Assistant Ref 1: Akihisa Aso
Assistant Ref 2: Tasuku Kawahara
TMO: Minoru Fuji



15 Ryuji Noguchi, 14 Semisi Masirewa, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Michael Little, 11 Hosea Saumaki, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Willem Britz (captain), 7 Edward Quirk, 6 Michael Leitch, 5 Uwe Helu, 4 Kazuki Himeno, 3 Hencus van Wyk, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Keita Inagaki.

Replacements: 16 Yusuke Niwai, 17 Craig Millar, 18 Jiwon Koo, 19 Wimpie van der Walt, 20 Yoshitaka Tokunaga, 21 Yutaka Nagare, 22 Robbie Robinson, 23 William Tupou.


15 Marty McKenzie, 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Johnny Fa’auli, 11 Solomon Alaimalo, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 8 Taleni Seu, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Lachlan Boshier, 5 Tyler Ardron, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Aidan Ross.

Replacements: 16 Liam Polwart, 17 Karl Tu’inukaufe, 18 Jeff Thwaites, 19 Michael Allardice, 20 Mitchell Karpik, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Sean Wainui, 23 Bailyn Sullivan.

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