The Chiefs battered the Bulls 13-56, ending their six-game Super Rugby losing streak at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria.
It was a sublime display from the Chiefs as they gave the Bulls the runaround with an energetic performance, scoring seven tries as they brought up the half-century.
The bonus-point victory ends their 2019 winless run while extending their unbeaten record to six against the Pretoria outfit.
Brodie Retallick grabbed a quickfire brace and set up a try, in a virtuoso display as he led the Chiefs to a welcome victory on the road in the Highveld.
It was one of the greatest lock-forward displays in modern rugby. Memories of the great Bulls and Springboks lock Bakkies Botha’s one-man demolition of England, come to mind.
Alex Nankivell and Solomon Alaimalo also dotted down for doubles to go with Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi’s score.
The Bulls were abject as they went down feebly in the Pretoria sunshine.
The Chiefs took a commanding 18-point halftime lead thanks to three tries in the last 16 minutes of the first half.
Alaimalo, Nankivell and Retallick all crossed for Waikato before the break. Retallick scored twice in two minutes either side of the interval to kill the game as a contest.
The Bulls could only muster two Handré Pollard penalties.
The visitors dominated possession and territory, pinning the Bulls inside their half with accurate kicking.
It played into the Chiefs’ hands, who turned pressure into points, punishing a lacklustre Blue Bulls.
Pote Human’s side looked lethargic and could not get any fluid attacking rhythm because they could not hold onto the little ball they had.
Two late tries from Jesse Kriel and Burger Odendaal was scant consolation for the former three-time champions.
A slow start by both teams gives way to Chiefs’ triple blow
Pollard and Damian McKenzie traded penalties in the before the game’s first try kick-started what would be a one-sided affair.
Sean Wainui gathered Brad Weber’s sliced box-kick at the second attempt beginning a slick attack. He shifted the ball to Tyler Ardron, who in turn popped to Lachlan Boshier.
Tumua Manu took the ball forward as the Bulls scrambled. The outside centre found Damian McKenzie and the fullback sent Alaimalo away.
Nankivell’s score was made possible due to more quick handling as well as Marty McKenzie’s lucky drop.
McKenzie slipped through a gap, was ankle-tapped and fell over. Nankivell picked it up and crossed underneath the posts.
Retallick went close but was stopped short just before halftime.
The ball was recycled, and the lock had another opportunity, one he would take as he barged through the blue wall.
Human’s side and the Loftus faithful were stunned.
Waikato turn up the intensity and put their foot on the Bulls’ throats
Things only got worse as the Chiefs upped the intensity, finding their mojo after a dismal start to the campaign.
Retallick showed why he is one of the game’s most magnificent locks.
The 2014 World Rugby Player of the Year scored the International Rugby Players try of the year for the All Blacks against Australia, last year.
This try was quicker and went through fewer phases, but the Retallick was no less instrumental. Damian McKenzie – who was also involved in the IRP try of the year – broke into the Bulls’ 22.
Pollard tackled him. Retallick arrived at the ruck and played halfback. He cleaned out the following ruck before finishing off the move after the next phase.
The 27-year-old had two in two minutes, which killed any (slim) hope the Bulls might have had.
Last quarter meltdown
Somehow die Blou Bulle managed to stem the white wave, and like waves on a beach, you cannot stop the rising of the tide.
For 20 minutes South Africa’s most successful Super rugby franchise kept the Waikato side at bay: then the wheels came off.
Damian McKenzie, the beating heart of this Chiefs’ attack, put in a well-weighted grubber behind the Bulls’ rush defence. Nankivill latched onto the ball to notch his second try.
The game was over; it was only a matter of how much would the visitors get?
Turned out to be more. Part of the Chiefs’ success was keeping the evergreen Schalk Brits quiet. Duane Vermeulen’s injury did not help, either.
Alaimalo was sent to the naughty step after Nankivill’s substitution.
Pollard showed glimpses of his class, dinking a chip-kick into the hands of Kriel – who was superb – to score.
Retallick was involved again with a lovely pick-up and pass and should have sealed a hat-trick.
Instead of powering over to score, he popped to the supporting Tahuriorangi.
McKenzie brought up the half-century with a penalty before some beautiful play by the Bulls saw Odendaal claim five.
There was still time for Alaimalo to seal the triple-double.
Tevita Mafileo intercepted Jessie Jenkin’s stray pass, setting up a final counter-attack before the hooter.
The Chiefs recycled the ball. Damian McKenzie floated a long pass to Alaimalo, not long back on the pitch.
He cantered away down the touchline, finishing off a humiliating day for the vanquished.
Final Score: Bulls 20 (6) Chiefs 56 (24)
Tries – Kriel, Odendaal
Pen – Pollard (2)
Con – Pollard (2)
Tries – Alaimalo (2), Nankivell (2), Retallick (2), Tahuriorangi
Pen – D. McKenzie (3)
Con – D. McKenzie (6)
Cards – Alaimalo (Yellow, 62′)
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant Ref 1: Cwengile Jadezweni
Assistant Ref 2: Griffin Colby
TMO: Willie Vos
Bulls: 15 Divan Rossouw, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Jason Jenkins, 4 Hanro Liebenberg, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements: 16 Corniel Els, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Dayan van der Westhuyzen, 19 Eli Snyman, 20 Tim Agaba, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Dylan Sage.
Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Sean Wainui, 13 Tumua Manu, 12 Alex Nankivell, 11 Solomon Alaimalo, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Tyler Ardron, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 6 Luke Jacobson, 5 Mitchell Brown, 4 Brodie Retallick (captain), 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Aidan Ross
Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Tevita Mafileo, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Michael Allardice, 20 Jesse Parete , 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Ataata Moeakiola.