Planet Rugby

Relief for six-try Chiefs

03rd May 2014 10:22

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tim nanai williams chiefs lions

Wrapping it up: Tim Nanai-Williams

A much-needed success for the Chiefs put them back on top of the New Zealand Conference after defeating the Lions 38-8.

Gareth Anscome, Tanerau Latimer, Charlie Ngatai, Paulasi Manu, Bundee Aki and Tim Nanai-Williams were all try scorers for the home side.

The Chiefs were not quite at their 2012 or 2013 level, but this is a different outfit - hindered by injury and trying to find their feet.

To say the Lions were a little green would be putting it lightly. 17 players were running out for the first time in New Zealand but we've often seen this season that Johan Ackermann's men are not to be underestimated.

The Chiefs meanwhile have looked off-colour for a few weeks, capped by their thrashing received from the Brumbies last weekend that saw Dave Rennie make 14 changes to his matchday squad.

Against a Lions outfit who hadn't won since Round 6, you sensed that this could be the chance for the Chiefs to fire their season up again.

They made slow work of it though in the first half. The Lions' scrummaging prowess won an early penalty for Elton Jantjies to slot over to give the visitors the lead.

Little bits of execution were just lacking for the Chiefs, a sure sign of low confidence, but they did bag the game's opening try.

Patient work inside the Lions' 22 saw Liam Messam drive close to the line in the corner, before quick recycling lead to Tim Nanai-Williams feeding Gareth Anscombe for the try.

More chances were difficult to come by but Nathan Harris must have thought he'd finished off a dream score when he sprinted for the corner. Consultation with the TMO however revealed an earlier obstruction from Josh Hohneck, but it was a tough call.

Perhaps Hohneck doesn't even know his own size, because he nearly stopped the Chiefs scoring again when Tanerau Latimer dove over. This time the tighthead prop was reprieved, with the TMO happy to award the try after inspecting Latimer's grounding. 12-3 to the hosts heading into the break.

There was still a little bit of time for the Chiefs to add another try though before the siren sounded and it came through Charlie Ngatai.

After the TMO was used yet again, Nanai-Williams sucked up the defenders and the loose ball behind the ruck presented itself perfectly for Ngatai to dive on it. A comfortable lead, with the Chiefs suggesting they would run riot in the second half.

Pauliasi Manu wasted little time to wrap up the bonus point. Nanai-Williams' running after Brodie Retallick's initial break had the Lions scrambling on their line, but they couldn't stop the power of Manu with Hohneck behind him driving over the line.

Not that the Lions were likely to give up so soon. Warren Whiteley's flying break left them just short but after making a mess of the Chiefs' scrum deep in their 22, the visitors retained possession and made space for Courtnall Skosan to go over for his third try of the season.

With half an hour to go, another score for the Lions might have turned a bit of heat up on the Chiefs.

Successive driving mauls from kicks into the corner were well defended by the Lions, winning a scrum from which they cleared their lines as the Chiefs were penalised at the set-piece once again.

There were still signs that the Chiefs weren't quite at their best, forcing forward passes and not always looking secure at the breakdown. Part of that came down to some continued aggression in defence from the Lions, who refused to fade away as expected.

Jacques van Rooyen was somehow stopped short on a barreling run to the line but the Lions were denied, although the possession and territory stats were beginning to fall their way.

You always sensed the Chiefs had another score in them though. Andrew Horrell's grubber kick was perfectly timed as his fellow replacement Bundee Aki waited for the bounce of the ball before notching up the Chiefs' fifth try.

Overall it felt like a fair scoreline at 31-8, although the Chiefs can produce much more.

A fine wraparound from a central scrum laid the foundation for their sixth, the Lions' defence finally opening up as the excellent Nanai-Williams skipped through for the final blow.

All in all this was a much needed confidence boost for Rennie and his men, a small reminder that while not at their best the Chiefs are still the champions and a title contender.

The scorers:

For Chiefs:
Tries: Anscombe, Latimer, Ngatai, Manu, Aki, Nanai-Williams
Cons: Anscombe 3, Horrell

For Lions:
Try: Skosan
Pen: Jantjies

Chiefs: 15 Tim Nanai-Williams, 14 Dwayne Sweeney, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Tom Marshall, 11 James Lowe, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Liam Messam (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Tanerau Latimer, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Ross Filipo, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Pauliasi Manu
Replacements: 16 Mahonri Schwalger, 17 Jamie Mackintosh, 18 Ben Tameifuna, 19 Matt Symons, 20 Michael Fitzgerald, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Bundee Aki, 23 Andrew Horrell

Lions: 15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (c), 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Martin Muller, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Schalk van der Merwe
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 MB Lusaseni, 20 Willie Britz, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Marnitz Boshoff, 23 JW Jonker.

Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Mike Lash (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

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