Super Rugby

Epic Chiefs rearguard repels rampant Reds




The Chiefs held off a spirited Reds 19-13 in one of the most monumental Super Rugby rearguard actions in the tournament’s history at Waikato Stadium, Hamilton.

The Chiefs made 240 tackles as they withstood a barrage of attacks inside their 22. At one stage they did not exit their 22 for more than five minutes, an age in rugby because it came in the last quarter.

The Reds camped inside the Chiefs 22 for most of the second-half.

Colin Cooper’s men leaked penalties and were lucky not to have a man in the bin for multiple infringements inside the red zone.

The loss keeps the Reds winless since April 2013 against the Chiefs.

Taniela Tupou’s 56th-minute try (his side’s only five-pointer), set-up the epic finale.

The Chiefs outscored the Reds in five-pointers, but ill-discipline and Bryce Hegarty’s boot kept the visitors in the game.

Cooper labelled the game a “must-win” for his charges, but in reality, they are not catching the Hurricanes never mind the Crusaders in the race for a playoff berth.

A win’s a win, though. Any win will do

Lachlan Boshier and returning skipper Sam Cane were immense.

Both won crucial turnovers after 15+ phase attacks, Boshier did it twice.

He also made three goal-line turnovers in total to cement his Man-of-the-Match display.

A third win in seven home games this Super Rugby season is never going to earn a spot in the knock-out rounds.

Super Rugby Video Highlights: Round 15, Chiefs versus Reds, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton

It was the Chiefs’ fifth win on the trot against the Reds; however, it was only their second win in five matches at home versus the Brisbane franchise.

The visitors enjoyed 70% possession and territory, 15 times Queensland went 7+ phase attacks or more; five attacks that went past 15 phases.

But the Red tide broke against the black wall, repelled at every turn.

Two Hegarty penalties were all they had to show for a dominant display.

The Reds were patient, showed good hands and endeavour, but twice had tries chalked off for double movements by Angus Scott-Young and Alex Mafi.

Both tries were ruled out meaning the visitors had come away with no points after 19 and 17-phase attacks.

The Chiefs, conversely, scored with their first sustained attack; a 13-phase foray inside the Reds’ 22 punished the Aussies when Pita Gus Sowakula danced his way over.

Hegarty kicked two penalties, but Atu Moli and Etene Nanai-Seturo crossed for the hosts to open up daylight.

Taniela Tupou crashed over after the break to bring the Reds back into the match, but it proved in vain as the Chiefs held firm.

Queensland Reds dominate the stats, but not the scoreboard

The Reds started with a four-minute 19-phase attack that ended when Scott-Young crossed from a pick-and-drive close to the try-line.

The try was referred to the TMO, who on review, awarded a penalty to the Chiefs for a double movement by the number eight.

The Chiefs went down the field and scored, but only after Nanai-Seturo had a try chalked off for a knock-on.

It was another contentious call that on replay looked legitimate, but ruled out.

No matter. The home team kept coming, camped inside the opposition’s 22, they eventually crossed after Sowakula’s swerving run.

The number eight was put away by Marty McKenzie, he slipped Hegarty and Lukhan Salakaia-Loto’s soft tackle attempts to open the scoring.

Hegarty put the visitors on the board soon afterwards with a penalty from in front after Alex Nankivell was caught offside.

Nankivell went close.

Cane, back from a long injury layoff, carried forward but pushed back before the juggling act extends the Chiefs lead.

A 13-phase Chiefs attack ended when Nathan Harris dropped the ball into Moli’s hands for the host’s second try.

The prop caught the ball and flopped over the whitewash, on 23 minutes. McKenzie missed from wide.

Queensland was not without their chances.

The Chiefs conceded penalties, giving the visitors opportunity they did not take.

A five-metre attacking lineout was not taken advantage of.

Captain Cane won a critical turnover after another sustained Reds’ attack that went 17 phases.

The Australians came again.

Mafi had a try chalked off after another TMO referral.

It was the right call because the hooker crawled from four metres out four times.

Hegarty doubled his side’s score after Izack Rodda opted for the points, but it was a win for the Chiefs, whose defence was immense.

The body-blow came on the stroke of halftime. Nanai-Seturo would not be denied.

He dotted down in the corner after some slick hands by McKenzie and Solomon Alaimalo, who floated a pin-point pass to the winger.

McKenzie curled his kick inside the uprights.

Tupou crossed in the third-quarter, Hegarty converted; it was the only points after the interval as the Chiefs held on for an epic victory.

Final score: Chiefs 19 (19) Reds 13 (6)


Tries – Sowakula, Moli, Nanai-Seturo
Pen –
Con – M. McKenzie (2)
Drop –
Cards –

Tries – Tupou
Pen – Hegarty (2)
Con – Hegarty
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant Ref 1: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant Ref 2: Dan Waenga
TMO: Glenn Newman



15 Solomon Alaimalo, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Tumua Manu, 12 Alex Nankivell, 11 Etene Nanai-Seturo, 10 Marty McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Pita Gus Sowakula, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 6 Sam Cane (captain), 5 Tyler Ardron, 4 Jesse Parete, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Atu Moli

Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Aidan Ross, 18 Sosefo Kautai, 19 Daymon Leasuasu, 20 Mitchell Karpik, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Jack Debreczeni, 23 Sean Wainui


15 Matt McGahan, 14 Jock Campbell, 13 Seb Wileman, 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Sefa Naivalu, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Angus Scott-Young, 7 Liam Wright, 6 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 5 Angus Blyth, 4 Izack Rodda (captain), 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Alex Mafi, 1 Harry Hoopert

Replacements: 16 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 17 Feao Fotuaika, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Adam Korczyk, 20 Scott Higginbotham, 21 Scott Malolua, 22 Teti Tela, 23 Liam McNamara

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