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Chiefs dent Waratahs' play-off hopes, Crusaders crush Rebels

SUPER RUGBY PACIFIC, FRIDAY WRAP: The Chiefs have delivered a blow to the Waratahs’ Super Rugby Pacific finals hopes, coming from behind for a 38-22 win in Sydney.

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Leading 12-0 after 20 minutes, the Waratahs looked on course for easily their biggest scalp of the season before the Hamilton-based outfit reeled off five consecutive tries to turn the contest on its head.

Chiefs playmaker Damian McKenzie was in sizzling touch and had his fingerprints on everything as his team took control via midfield domination.

The Waratahs have only won twice this season – both times against the Crusaders – but could have moved into the top eight with a victory on Friday.

Three Chiefs tries in the 20 minutes after half-time meant that wouldn’t happen.

First McKenzie put wing Emoni Narawa away, then Cortez Ratima exploited sloppy defending soon after, before a bruising run from No.8 Wallace Sititi effectively locked in the points.

Lachie Swinton dragged a try back to give the Waratahs some late hope, before Chiefs counterpart Kaylum Boshier flashed serious pace to snuff that completely.

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The Chiefs go third on the ladder, but could slide to fourth if the Brumbies beat the Blues on Saturday.

Having weathered an early storm, the Chiefs would perhaps have been the happier team at half-time with the sides tied at 12-12.

The Waratahs produced a barrage in the opening 20 minutes in which they crossed twice and forced so many penalties referee Jordan Way sent Chiefs lock Tupou Vaa’i to the sinbin for repeated fouling.

Waratahs hooker Julian Heaven dashed off the back of a broken maul to score the opening try while Jake Gordon produced a similar move for 12-0.

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But the Chiefs struck back through fullback Shaun Stevenson – who injured his hamstring in scoring – before a superb lofted ball from playmaker Damian McKenzie put winger Emoni Narawa through.

Chiefs wing Etene Nanai-Seturo also served 10 minutes off the field for a high shot on Mark Nawaqanitawase, although questions were asked of referee Way’s non-call on a brutal late hit Samipeni Finau put on Tane Edmed.

The Melbourne Rebels have been handed a massive Super Rugby Pacific reality check after being kept scoreless and brutalised by the Crusaders in a 0-39 defeat.

In Christchurch, the visitors were never in the contest and were absolutely monstered up front by a side that came into Friday’s fixture on the bottom of the ladder.

The fourth-ranked Rebels had won their previous three games to insert themselves in the finals frame, but were well and truly reminded about the difficulties of winning games in New Zealand.

Crusaders No.8 Christian Lio-Wllie and flank Cullen Grace put them 10-0 clear in 17 minutes, but the floodgates really opened late with three second-half tries against a broken Rebels outfit.

Their scrum was completely decimated in the first half, to the point that coach Kevin Foote replaced the entire front row before the break.

Matt Gibbon, Alex Mafi and Sam Talakai were hooked on the half-hour after a shift that saw them concede three penalties and lose multiple scrums against their own feed, including one where the Crusaders drove them back into their own in-goal.

The bench group – including Wallabies talents Taniela Tupou and Jordan Uelese – solidified things in the short term, but were eventually worn down by the hosts’ power.

Perhaps things could have been different if Rebels forward Josh Kemeny had grounded a short-range effort on the stroke of half-time, but he lost control of the ball diving for the line in what was a chance to pull them to within a single score while trailing 0-10.

Instead, the Crusaders resumed their dominance after the break, Lio-Willie powering over for a second before Rivez Reihana knocked over a penalty to put them 18-0 clear on 50 minutes.

Owen Franks, Sevu Reece and Johnny McNicholl cashed in late when the Rebels threw in the towel.

It was just the Crusaders’ second win of the campaign, but they immediately jumped into ninth spot to remain a competition factor.

The Rebels have another difficult task next weekend, hosting the Blues in Melbourne.

See below for Friday’s scores and scorers!

Crusaders 39-0 Melbourne Rebels

The scorers:

For Crusaders:
Tries: Lio-Willie 2, Grace, Franks, Reece, McNicholl
Cons: Reihana 3
Pen: Reihana

For Rebels: None

Teams:

Crusaders: 15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Levi Aumua, 12 Dallas McLeod, 11 Heremaia Murray, 10 Rivez Reihana, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Christian Lio-Willie, 7 Ethan Blackadder, 6 Cullen Grace, 5 Quinted Strange, 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Fletcher Newell, 2 Brodie McAlister, 1 George Bower.
Replacements: 16 George Bell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Owen Franks, 19 Jamie Hannah, 20 Corey Kellow, 21 Noah Hotham, 22 David Havili, 23 Chay Fihaki.

Rebels: 15 Andrew Kellaway, 14 Lachie Anderson, 13 Filipo Daugunu, 12 David Feliuai, 11 Darby Lancaster, 10 Carter Gordon, 9 Ryan Louwrens, 8 Vaiolini Ekuasi, 7 Maciu Nabolakasi, 6 Josh Kemeny, 5 Josh Canham, 4 Tuaina Taii Tualma, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Alex Mafi, 1 Matt Gibbon.
Replacements: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Isaac Kailea, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Angelo Smith, 20 Rob Leota, 21 Jack Maunder, 22 Matt Proctor, 23 Nick Jooste.

Referee: Angus Mabey
Assistant referees: Nick Hogan, Anthony Petrie
TMO: Shane McDermott

Waratahs 22-38 Chiefs

The scorers:

For Waratahs:
Tries: Heaven, Gordon, Swinton
Cons: Edmed, Harrison
Pen: Edmed

For Waratahs:
Tries: Stevenson, Narawa 2, Ratima, Sititi, Boshier
Cons McKenzie 4

Teams:

Waratahs: 15 Max Jorgensen, 14 Mark Nawaqanitawase, 13 Joey Walton, 12 Lalakai Foketi, 11 Tristan Reilly, 10 Tane Edmed, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Ned Hanigan, 7 Charlie Gamble, 6 Lachie Swinton, 5 Miles Amatosero, 4 Hugh Sinclair, 3 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 2 Julian Heaven, 1 Hayden Thompson-Stringer.
Replacements: 16 Jay Fonokalafi, 17 Lewis Ponini, 18 Tom Ross, 19 Jed Holloway, 20 Langi Gleeson, 21 Jack Grant, 22 Will Harrison, 23 Izaia Perese.

Chiefs: 15 Shaun Stevenson, 14 Emoni Narawa, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Rameka Poihipi, 11 Etene Nanai-Seturo, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Cortez Ratima, 8 Wallace Sititi, 7 Kalyum Bshier, 6 Samipeni Finau, 5 Tupou Vaa’i, 4 Jimmy Tupou, 3 George Dyer, 2 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 1 Aidan Ross.
Replacements: 16 Tyrone Thompson, 17 Jared Proffit, 18 Reuben O’Neill, 19 Manaaki Selby-Rickit, 20 Simon Parker, 21 Xavier Roe, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Quinn Tupaea.

Referee: Jordan Way
Assistant referees: Reuben Keane, Matt Kellahan
TMO: James Leckie

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