Chiefs wallop Waratahs 39-15 in the second 2022 Super Rugby Pacific Quarter-final at FMG Stadium, Hamilton, Waikato.
The Chiefs continued their recent good form against the NSW Waratahs, winning their sixth Super Rugby match in a row against the Sydney side.
This comfortable victory played put to the din of the cow bells as the Chiefs. New South Wales had never won away from home in the Super Rugby playoffs ever, and it showed.
The Waratahs had only won once previously at FMG Stadium, back in 2010. The wait goes on after an abject finals display in New Zealand.
Brad Weber bagged a brace as the Chiefs rolled the Waratahs, who imploded late in the first half and never recovered.
The inspirational captain had a beaming smile afterwards as he explained his happiness at finally getting to play a home semi-final in Waikato.
The 31-year-old veteran halfback has never had the opportunity, in 110 Super Rugby games, to play a knock-out match in front of the Hamilton faithful. He will now.
The Kiwis scored five tries to two but missed some glorious chances to add to the woeful Waratahs’ misery.
Clayton McMillan’s charges added to their good record against Australian opposition, winning seven of their last eight trans-Tasman derbies.
The Waratahs – who lost every game last season – won eight of 15 matches during the 2022 campaign, but a mistake-ladden display proved costly.
Darren Coleman’s resurgent side had their chances but poor handling and kicking killed their momentum.
The Tahs made 15 handling errors and conceded more penalties (11-5) and turnovers (18-10), which is criminal in a knock-out match away from home.
Moreover, their hosts took their chances, while they squandered multiple opportunities inside the opposition’s 22.
Luke Jacobson, Alex Nankivell, and Pita Gus Sowakula also crossed for the Chiefs.
Bryn Gatland had a sublime game at first five-eighth. Gatland landed two penalties and four conversions (14 pts)to go with a silky assist for Weber’s first-half try.
The 27-year-old playmaker increased his table-topping lead to 11 assists for the season, the most of any player.
Dylan Pietsch and Harry Wilson scored for the tourists on either side of the interval.
Tane Edmed had an indifferent game, he kicked one penalty and conversion (5 pts) but missed two penalties and one conversion (8 lost pts) to go with a mistake for Nankivell’s score.
The Chiefs will play the winners of the Blues-Highlanders clash at Eden Park. If the Landers pull off an upset, the cow bells will ring out one more time at FMG Stadium.
Clayton McMillan’s clinical men took a deserved 27-10 lead into the sheds after two late first-half scores put daylight between the hosts and the visitors
The Chiefs outscored the Waratahs three tries to one to open up a commanding 17-point halftime lead. It could – and should – have been more but for errors inside the opposition’s 22.
The Waratahs had the better of both territory (59%) and possession (57%) while winning more rucks and mauls.
Discipline issues, however, allowed the Kiwis to kick two penalties and set up a rolling maul for Jacobson’s try.
Coleman’s side leaked more penalties and lost more turnovers than McMillan’s side while making more handling errors.
The Chiefs took their chances, especially with the boot where Gatland landed all his chances and Edmed did not.
The Hamilton men raced into a 10-point lead before the Sydney side fought back to level after 19 minutes.
Weber and Jacobson both crossed, while Gatland, who set up Weber’s try, made no mistake from the tee.
Gatland opened the scoring with an early penalty before Weber’s stunning strike off the back of the lineout for his 22nd Super Rugby score.
Weber looped around Gatland on a switch-move, and the scrumhalf burst through a massive hole and raced away to score under the posts. Gatland could not miss.
The Tahs hit back a minute later when Pietsch beat Brodie Retallick to Ben Donaldson’s well-weighted grubber to put the Waratahs on the scoreboard.
Edmed added the extras before knocking over a penalty to level at the end of the first quarter.
Edmed, however, did miss two shots at goal as the New Zealanders led 17-10 before the half-hour mark.
Coleman’s side had multiple opportunities inside the home team’s 22, but they could not convert pressure into points enough times.
Jacobson committed another infringement at the ruck. Edmed called for the tee but missed.
The Chiefs made them pay, scoring 10 more points during the last seven minutes of the half.
Jacobson scored from a rolling maul. Gatland converted, and Edmed missed again.
Six minutes before halftime, Nankivell scored from an NSW mistake.
Nankivell capitalised on a horrible series of mistakes from the Aussie backs.
NSW tried to run from deep inside their 22 off the back of the scrum, but Edmed’s wide flat pass was dropped by Donaldson and bounced off Mark Nawaqanitawase’s boot into the path of Nankivell.
The 25-year-old centre toed the ball forward into the in-goal area to score.
Gatland added the conversion before knocking over a late penalty as the Chiefs’ forwards began to dominate.
An error-strewn second stanza did not help the Waratahs despite scoring through Wilson and keeping the Chiefs scoreless
New South Wales struck soon after the break with a sensational counter-attack from their goal line.
Harry Johnson-Holmes won a crucial turnover in the red zone before popping to Michael Hooper.
Hooper raced to his 10m before offloading to the supporting Wilson.
The mobile number eight charged from behind his 10m and raced away from Nankivell, winning the foot race to score a stunning goal-to-goal try.
Edmed again missed on a forgettable night for the young standoff.
It was as good as it would get for the Aussies, who fell away late on.
The Chiefs have the best scoring rate from scrums in Super Rugby Pacific, and they put the game away with Weber’s second score, which came from a scrum.
Some slick handling down the blindside ended with Jonah Lowe offloading to the supporting Weber to score his second of the night.
Gatland could not convert, missing his first kick at the goal of the evening, but the hosts led 32-15 with 15 minutes to play.
Sowakula crashed over from close range after the Chiefs’ maul broke up bear the line to seal the deal.
Final Score: Chiefs 39 (27) Waratahs 15 (10)
Tries – Weber (2), Jacobson, Nankivell, Sowakula
Pen – Gatland (2)
Con – Gatland (4)
Tries – Pietsch, Harris
Pen – Edmed
Con – Edmed
Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant Ref 1: Jordan Way
Assistant Ref 2: Dan Waenga
TMO: Chris Hart
Chiefs: 15 Emoni Narawa, 14 Jonah Lowe, 13 Alex Nankivell, 12 Quinn Tupaea, 11 Etene Nanai-Seturo, 10 Bryn Gatland, 9 Brad Weber (captain), 8 Pita Gus Sowakula, 7 Luke Jacobson, 6 Samipeni Finau, 5 Tupou Vaa’i, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 1 Aidan Ross.
Replacements: 16 Bradley Slater, 17 Ollie Norris, 18 Atu Moli, 19 Naitoa Ah Khoi, 20 Mitch Brown, 21 Xavier Roe, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Rameka Poihipi.
Waratahs: 15 Ben Donaldson, 14 Mark Nawaqanitawase, 13 Alex Newsome, 12 Lalakai Foketi, 11 Dylan Pietsch, 10 Tane Edmed, 9 Jake Gordon (captain), 8 Will Harris, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Charlie Gamble, 5 Ned Hanigan, 4 Jed Holloway, 3 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 2 Tom Horton, 1 Angus Bell.
Replacements: 16 Mahe Vailanu, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 Archer Holz, 19 Hugh Sinclair, 20 Jeremy Williams, 21 Langi Gleeson, 22 Jack Grant, 23 Jamie Roberts.