Chiefs hit Cheetahs for six
March 2, 2013
The Chiefs' Brodie Retallick off loads the ball in the tackle during his side's victory over the Cheetahs in Hamilton © Getty Images
The Chiefs maintained their undefeated defence of the Super Rugby title with a thumping 45-3 victory over the Cheetahs in Hamilton on Saturday night.
The hosts looked anything but defending champions in the first half, a shadow of the team that impressed so much in opening their campaign with victory against the Highlanders, as the Cheetahs dominated possession and territory. The Chiefs led at half-time, 10-3, only because the Cheetahs failed to claim reward for having 79% of the possession - predominantly because fly-half Johan Goosen missed three kicks at goal.
But the Chiefs returned after the interval with renewed intensity, with prop Ben Afeaki, winger Asaeli Tikoirotuma, fly-half Gareth Anscombe, and replacements Rhys Marshall and Ben Tameifuna adding to flanker Liam Messam's first half try. Six conversions and a penalty ensured Anscombe ended with a personal tally of 20 points.
The Bulls enjoyed a second home win when they defeated Western Force 36-26 at Loftus Versfield. Fly-half Moyne Steyn started the try-scoring in the first minute and he added two penalties as the South African side ended the half 14-9 ahead. Force fly-half Sias Ebersohn had landed a drop-goal and two penalties to keep the west Australians in touch.
After half-time both sides played with more ambition. Bulls wing Sampie Mastriet grabbed a try, but Angus Cottrell responded quickly with a touch-down of his own. Second-row Toby Lynn added a second to put the Force in control, but Jean Cook and Werner Kruger found their way to the line to give the hosts the lead.
In Durban, the Sharks edged their coastal rivals the Stormers 12-6 in a closely-fought encounter. After the match had reached half-time scoreless, fly-half Patrick Lambie kicked a penalty one minute into the second half, though Stormers' fullback Joe Pietersen soon cancelled it out with a penalty of his own. Lambie then added two more and while Pietersen added a second of his own, Lambie's fourth penalty secured the match.
On Friday, the Blues maintained their impressive start to the Super Rugby season, defeating pre-season title favourites the Crusaders 34-15 with a bonus-point performance at Eden Park. The Aucklanders, dismissed as title no-hopers before the season started, dominated the seven-time champions in all facets of the game to give their supporters early hope they can contend for a fourth Super Rugby title. They were three tries to the good by half-time with Steven Luatua going over and Frank Halai scoring two tries in six minutes. And they showed no signs of slowing down in the second 40 with Luke Braid going over after 58 minutes and George Moala bagging their fifth with just seven minutes left on the clock.
In Sydney, the Waratahs came back from 16-6 down to eventually beat the Melbourne Rebels 31-26. Ged Robinson crossed for the first try of the game after 24 minutes which contributed to the Rebels' 10-point lead but Bernard Foley's score in the 57th minute of the match drew it level at 16 apiece. Michael Hooper then crossed for the Waratahs and Paddy Ryan added another with just six minutes left on the clock. Kurtley Beale grabbed a late consolation score for the Rebels against his former side but it proved to be too little too late.
The Reds held off a Hurricanes onslaught to win 18-12 in Brisbane. In a nip and tuck game, the home side outscored the Wellington franchise two tries to nil but it could have been very different had Chris Smylie not knocked the ball on for Conrad Smith's disallowed score late on. Digby Ioane's try in the 22nd minute put the Reds in the driving seat and Rob Simmons' second-half score proved to be the difference between the two sides.
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