Super Rugby

Tupaea at the treble: Chiefs rout feeble Force




Chiefs hammer Western Force 54-21 in a one-sided Trans-Tasman Super Rugby Pacific contest at FMG Stadium, Waikato.

Quinn Tupaea’s devastating hat-trick inspired the Chiefs to an eight-try romp versus the Western Force, who wilted in the Waikato.

The Chiefs have won nine of their last 10 Trans-Tasman Super Rugby matches against the Force, including their last five encounters.

The Culture Round clash was all but over soon after halftime as the hosts scored their highest tally in this fixture (the previous biggest score: 53-10 in 2016).

In all fairness to the Western Australians, the New Zealand outfit never looked in danger of losing.

Aidan Ross, Kaleb Trask, Tupou Vaa’i, and Samisoni Taukei’aho – who bagged a brace – also dotted down for the rampant Kiwis.

Bryn Gatland shone brightly in the Hamilton gloom as the feeble Force wilted across the Tasman

Bryn Gatland had a day at first five-eighth, he landed six conversions from seven attempts (12 pts).

Trask also kicked a two-point conversion to go with his second-half score (7 pts).

Gatland set up two of Tupaea’s scores while being instrumental in Trask’s 49th-minute score with a magnificent midfield linebreak.

Toni Pulu, Jeremy Thrush, and Michael McDonald crossed for the outclassed Aussies.

The men from the Waikato took a comfortable 21-7 lead into the shed after Tupaea’s first-half double and Ross’ score.

Pulu pulled one back for the tourists, and despite two more scores after the interval, the home side kicked into gear.

Clayton McMillan’s men put Tim Sampson’s side to the sword, scoring five more tries after the break as the Kiwis raised their bats.

The Force had conceded 50+ points in their last two games, and they did so again. Worst of all, it could have been more.

Only once in Super Rugby history had any team conceded 50+ points in three consecutive games (Sunwolves in Round 14-16, 2016), but the Aussies managed to join the now-defunct Japan franchise.

The Western Force have now lost 16 of their last 18 Super Rugby games, including their last seven as they notched another unwanted record.

Defeat for Sampson’s side ends their hopes of an improbable playoff berth with the Highlanders – eight points ahead – still to play the NSW Waratahs.

The Chiefs continue to stake a claim for a home quarter-final, sitting comfortably in the fourth spot on the Super Rugby Pacific table, no matter the result of the Hurricanes/Melbourne Rebels result.

The Chiefs dominated proceedings as they dismantled the Force’s set-piece and stopped their rolling maul

McMillan’s side had several sustained attacks as they kept the visitors camped inside their half.

The home team’s scrum won multiple penalties as they dismantled their opposition.

Such was the dominance, the Force opted for attacking lineouts instead of a scrum under the posts before halftime.

But it was to no avail because the Western Australians could not get their vaunted driving maul going as the Kiwis kept them at bay.

Santiago Medrano, in particular, had a tough day. The Argentina tighthead prop fell foul of the referee time and again.

He was pinged three times; once for side entry; once for collapsing the scrum; and for offside in the first half.

The Chiefs flew into a 21-0 26-minute lead after scoring three converted tries.

The Western Force struck before halftime when they claimed a converted score of their own to make it 21-7 at the break.

The home team opened the scoring in the 12th-minute after two series totalling 20 phases of attack before the resistance broke.

Gatland broke to the blindside of the scrum and drew his man before hitting Tupaea, on the angle, who carried Ian Prior over the line. Trask converted.

The hosts were all over their opponents and soon struck again to double their advanatge.

Another sustained attack (nine phases) ended with Ross crashing through Izack Rodda and Feleti Kaitu’u to score next to the left post. Gatland, this time, converted.

On the half-hour, Tupaea combined with Gatland before crashing through several defenders with a powerful leg drive to claim his second of the afternoon.

Gatland, once again, added the extras to open up a three-goal lead.

The visitors did, however, hit back with a score minutes later when Tim Anstee won the restart to set up an attack on the Chiefs’ 22.

The Force went through the phase before some Jake McIntyre magic got his side on the scoreboard.

McIntyre, in the pocket, saw Pulu alone on the sideline.

The flyhalf hit the winger with an accurate crossfield kick for the 33-year-old to claim his 19th Super Rugby score. Prior added the extras.

The Force had another decent chance to take some points before the break.

Captian Kaitu’u, however, eschewed a shot at goal for a failed rolling maul, which led to a pass into touch to end the half.

Quinn Tupaea and Bryn Gatland carve up the Force as the Chiefs kill the game with two early second-half scores

Soon after the restart, Tupaea collected Gatland’s deft offload on the angle, he slipped Kaitu’u and Jake Strachan’s weak tackles and dotted down for his treble.

Three minutes later, McMillan’s men scored a sensational try.

It was that man Gatland again. The little pocket rocket’s midfield break from halfway to the 22, set up the score.

The flyhalf popped to Tupaea, who got stopped short before playing the supporting Brad Weber.

The ball went wide to Pita Gus Sowakula, whose overhead offload allowed Trask to be put away untouched by Alex Nankivell.

By now, the Aussie forwards began to implode; the lineout went the way of the scrum and maul as the mistakes mounted.

The Chiefs brought up the forty-burger before the hour mark when they opted for a scrum after winning a penalty.

Pita Gus, packing down at number eight despite playing on the flank, went close after he broke off another bulldozing scrum.

Fellow forward Vaa’i picked up the ball and scored. Easy as you like. Gatland’s fourth conversion made it 40-7.

As the game entered the final quarter, the Force found a way through the black wall.

Thrush, in his 136th Super Rugby game, with help from his mates, crashed over for his 14th SR five-pointer. McIntyre added the two.

Taukei’aho flopped over on 66 minutes after a powerful driving maul by the forwards. Gatland converted from wide.

McDonald scored and converted after Brad Lacey’s jinking run from halfway made it 47-21.

But there was still time for more forward domination by McMillan’s marauding pack.

Taukei’aho claimed his second of the night after another bulldozing driving maul to bring up the record half-century.

Final Score: Chiefs 54 (21) Force 21 (7)


Tries – Tupaea (3), Ross, Trask, Vaa’i, Taukei’aho (2)
Pen –
Con – Trask, Gatland (6)
Drop –
Cards –

Tries – Pulu, Thrush, McDonald
Pen –
Con – Prior, McIntyre, McDonald
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: James Doleman
Assistant Ref 1: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant Ref 2: 
Dan Waenga
TMO: Chris Hart


Chiefs: 15 Kaleb Trask, 14 Emoni Narawa, 13 Alex Nankivell, 12 Quinn Tupaea, 11 Chase Tiatia, 10 Bryn Gatland, 9 Brad Weber (co-captain), 8 Luke Jacobson, 7 Sam Cane (co-captain), 6 Pita Gus Sowakula, 5 Tupou Vaa’i, 4 Samipeni Finau, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Bradley Slater, 1 Aidan Ross.

Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Josh Bartlett, 18 George Dyer, 19 Hamilton Burr, 20 Mitch Brown, 21 Xavier Roe, 22 Inga Finau, 23 Rameka Poihipi.

Western Force: 15 Jake Strachan, 14 Byron Ralston, 13 Kyle Godwin, 12 Reesjan Pasitoa, 11 Toni Pulu, 10 Jake McIntyre, 9 Ian Prior, 8 Jackson Pugh, 7 Tim Anstee, 6 Fergus Lee-Warner, 5 Izack Rodda, 4 Ryan McCauley, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Feleti Kaitu’u (captain), 1 Tom Robertson.

Replacements: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Angus Wagner, 18 Bo Abra, 19 Jeremy Thrush, 20 Will Sankey, 21 Michael McDonald, 22 Richard Kahui, 23 Brad Lacey.

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