The Chiefs have defeated a brave Waratahs side 51-27 in the opening match of Super Round at AAMI Park in Melbourne.
Despite the scoreline, the Waratahs showed incredible fight and resilience to stay in the contest for most of the match after facing a nightmare start and losing crucial personnel to injuries.
The Waratahs lost both of their hookers by the 44th minute of the match, resulting in uncontested scrums and Harry Johnson-Holmes and Jake Gordon sharing lineout throwing duties.
It was a disastrous start for the Waratahs as they lost two of their starting front-row for the match in just the 3rd minute when Angus Bell received a red card for a lifting tackle on the Chief’s skipper Sam Cane and Dave Porecki left the field and failed return after suffering a head knock.
Both sides traded penalty goals early through Gatland and Harrison before the Chiefs grabbed the first try of the night through Samisoni Taukei’aho who finished off a rolling maul off a 5m attacking lineout.
Things went bad to worse when the Waratahs were reduced to 13 men when Jamie Roberts was shown a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on attempting to shut down a Chiefs linebreak opportunity.
The Chiefs took immediate advantage of their numerical advantage scoring 20 unanswered points in the period the Waratahs were down to 13 men.
Jonah Lowe and Quinn Tupeau both scored tries, making the most of the extra space out wide to race away to a 22-3 lead.
The Waratahs showed they weren’t going lay down, hitting back through their skipper Jake Gordon who finished off a Jed Holloway burst through the midfield.
Tupaea again made the Waratahs pay for another poor exit grabbing his second try of the night before Newsome hit back at the stroke of half-time to cut the deficit to 30-17.
Tane Edmed kicked an early penalty goal before Jake Gordon grabbed his second try of the night snaring a 70m intercept try against the run of play to cut the gap to just three points.
Unfortunately for the Waratahs that was as close as it got as the Chiefs put the game to bed with Jonah Lowe adding three more tries in the last 15 minutes of the match to end the night with a personal tally of four and a 51-27 win.
Waratahs captain Jake Gordon lamented the poor start that killed off their chances in the match.
“Discipline probably hurt us early in the game, obviously losing Belly he’s a huge part of our game was a little bit disappointing, and then copping a yellow after that and then losing both hookers made it really hard for us,” Gordon said.
“I really thought we looked good when we held the ball for long periods of time.
“I thought Tane ran the boys around really well, Jed had some great touches, Izzy Perese early on in that first half, and I think we really challenged them around the ruck too but we didn’t do that for long enough tonight.”
CHIEFS 51 TRIES: Taukei’aho, Lowe 4, Tupaea 2 CONS: Gatland 5/7 PENS: Gatland 1/1 YELLOW CARD: Tupaea 74'
WARATAHS 27 TRIES: Gordon 2, Gamble CONS: Harrison 1/1, Edmed 2/2 PENS: Harrison 1/1, Edmed 1/1 RED CARD: Bell 3' YELLOW CARD: Roberts 12'
CHIEFS (1-15): Aidan Ross, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Angus Ta'avao, Josh Lord, Tupou Vaa'i, Luke Jacobson, Sam Cane (c), Pita Gus Sowakula, Cortez Ratima, Bryn Gatland, Quinn Tupaea, Rameka Pohipi, Alex Nankivell, Jonah Lowe, Chase Tiatia RESERVES: Bradley Slater, Ollie Norris, George Dyer, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Samipeni Finau, Xavier Roe Rivez Reihana, Inga Finau
WARATAHS (1-15): Angus Bell, Dave Porecki, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Jed Holloway, Hugh Sinclair, Charlie Gamble, Michael Hooper, Will Harris, Jake Gordon (c), Tane Edmed, Alex Newsome, Jamie Roberts, Izaia Perese, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Will Harrison RESERVES: Tom Horton, Tetera Faulkner, Archer Holz, Geoff Cridge, Rahboni Warren-Yosayaco, Jack Grant, Ben Donaldson, Dylan Pietsch