Chiefs charge into semi-finals

Date published: July 23 2016

The Chiefs will face the Hurricanes in the Super Rugby semi-finals after crushing the Stormers 60-21 at Newlands on Saturday.

The visitors delivered a masterclass of attacking rugby and outscored the Stormers by eight tries to three with four of the five-pointers scored during an impressive first half.

The  two-time champions dominated most facets of play and the Stormers were blown away by the pace and intensity with which their opponents executed their moves.

The result means that three out of the four teams in the semi-finals are New Zealand teams – after the Highlanders and Hurricanes won their quarter-finals – with the Johannesburg-based Lions filling the final play-off spot.

Dave Rennie's charges will now go to Wellington to take on the top-seeded Hurricanes in their semi-final with the Highlanders making the long trek to South Africa to take on the Lions.

The Chiefs made the early attacking and opened the scoring via a Damian McKenzie penalty, after Pieter-Steph du Toit was penalised for a ruck infringement.  

Nathan Harris failed to find his jumper at a line-out and the hosts made full use of the turnover when, after Du Toit and Schalk Burger set up a couple of phases, Vincent Koch burst through a tackle before crashing over for the opening try.

Robert du Preez added the extras but three minutes later Sam McNicol silenced the home crowd when he stepped past Jaco Taute before diving over, after brilliant handling from James Lowe and Damian McKenzie put him in the clear down thec right-hand touchline.

It didn't take long for the visitors to cross for their second five-pointer, Brad Weber rounding off under the posts after gathering an inside pass from James Lowe which meant the Chiefs were leading 17-7 after 15 minutes.

Things went from bad to worse for the home side in the 24th minute when Aaron Cruden charged down an attempted clearance from Jaco Taute. Huw Jones tried to gather, behind his tryline, but only managed to knock on and Tom Sanders only had to dive onto the ball for an easy five-pointer.

McKenzie kept the scoreboard ticking when he landed a three-pointer from the kicking tee after Rynardt Elstadt, who came on shortly after the restart for the injured Siya Kolisi, was penalised for dangerous tackling.

Five minutes before half-time, the men from Hamilton had their fourth try when Lowe caught the defence napping with a grubber kick which bounced teasingly behind the Stormers' try-line and he won his footrace with Kobus van Wyk before dotting down.

To their credit, the home side didn't surrender and two minutes before the break Koch showed great tenacity and leg drive to barge over for his, and his side's, second try.

That try gave the home side a glimmer of hope but they still had a mountain to climb as the Chiefs went in to the sheds with a commanding 34-14 lead.

That hope soon disappeared as five minutes after the restart the Chiefs caught them by surprise on their own ball at a scrum inside their 22. Anton Liener-Brown soon glided through a gap in the Stormers defence and passed to Sam McNicol who offloaded to McKenzie who got over for the Chiefs' fifth try.

The Stormers tried gallantly to figth back and although they had lots of possession, poor decision-making – especially from Du Preez and Nic Groom – and a plethora of handling errors meant the next 20 minutes was a war of attrition as the Chiefs' defence kept them at bay.

The home side had to wait until the 72nd minute for their third try – Nizaam Carr crossing after spotting a rare hole in the visitors' defence but despite that effort the Chiefs were far from finished and sealed their win in style with late tries from Hika Elliot, Tevita Koloamatangi and Tawera Kerr-Barlow.

The scorers:

For Stormers:
Tries: Koch 2, Carr
Cons: Du Preez, Thomson

For Chiefs:
Tries: McNicol, Weber, Sanders, Lowe, McKenzie, Elliot, Koloamatangi, Kerr-Barlow
Cons: McKenzie 7
Pens: McKenzie 2

Stormers: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Schalk Burger (c), 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Ezebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Alistair Vermaak
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Frans Malherbe (c), 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Rynhardt Elstadt, 21 Nizaam Carr, 22 Louis Schreuder, 23 Brandon Thomson

Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Sam McNicol, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Stephen Donald, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (cc), 9 Brad Weber, 8 Tom Sanders, 7 Sam Cane (cc), 6 Taleni Seu, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Atu Moli, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Kane Hames
Replacements: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, 18 Mitchell Graham, 19 Tevita Koloamatangi, 20 Lachlan Boshier, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Toni Pulu, 23 Shaun Stevenson

Venue: DHL Newlands, Cape Town
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant Referees: Jaco van Heerden, AJ Jacobs
TMO: Johan Greeff