Planet Rugby

Chiefs open with a bang

22nd February 2013 08:15

Share:

Jarrad Hoeata highlanders v chiefs

Chiefs: Impressive start

The Chiefs kicked off their Super Rugby title defence with a thrilling 41-27 victory over the Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Friday.

This was the perfect way to start the weekend in what was a highly entertaining spectacle between two class acts that left you begging for more.

Both sides showed plenty on attack which led to seven spectacular tries and were solid enough on defence, but in the end the Chiefs were ultimately deserved winners - though the Highlanders can hold their heads high.

Chiefs wing cum centre Tim Nanai-Williams showed he can cut the mustard in midfield, and bagged a brace of tries for his efforts while unwanted former Blues pivot Gareth Anscombe showcased his kicking skills by providing half the team's points from the tee.

The Chiefs struck first thanks to an early Anscombe penalty. But the Highlanders hit back when, in their first excursion into Chiefs territory, crossed for the first try which set the tone for the rest of the match.

Full-back Ben Smith did tremendously well to collect an offload from Lima Sopoaga at his boots before spinning out the tackle to score under the posts. Sopoaga added the easy extras, and the Highlanders were in front.

The Chiefs wasted little time in retaking the lead when Nanai-Williams burst clear and beat Ben Smith for pace to touch down for his first try of the match. Anscombe raised the flag with his conversion and then added two three-pointers to put the Chiefs into a handy lead.

The Highlanders then started to dominate possession as well as territory and were rewarded before the break with a crucial score through captain Hosea Gear who made a difficult try look easy as he brushed aside two Chiefs players to power over in the corner. Sopoaga converted to cut the deficit to two points at half-time (14-16).

The free-flowing game continued in the second half, with the Highlanders leapfrogging the Chiefs once more after Sopoaga added a penalty. The intriguing see-saw battle then saw Chiefs wing Patrick Osborne over in the corner for his first Super Rugby try, before Kade Poki exposed some weak defence from Nanai-Williams to keep his side in the hunt.

Sopoaga nailed the conversion and a penalty to make it 27-21.

The Chiefs weren't done yet, however, and hit the front yet again through winger Asaeli Tikoirotuma.

The game was still anyone's for the taking, with both teams throwing the ball about. But it was the Chiefs who took their chances when Nanai-Williams scooped up a dropped ball from the Highlanders inside his own 22, and raced 80m for the decisive try.

Anscombe converted and then added two more penalties to put the game out of sight.

The scorers:

For Highlanders:
Tries: B Smith, Gear, Poki
Cons: Sopoaga 3
Pens: Sopoaga 3

For Chiefs:
Tries: Nanai-Williams 2, Osborne, Tikoirotuma
Cons: Anscombe 3
Pens: Anscombe 5

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Kade Poki, 13 Phil Burleigh, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Hosea Gear (c), 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 John Hardie, 6 Joe Wheeler, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Ma'afu Fia, 2 Brayden Mitchell, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Bronson Murray, 18 Elliot Dixon, 19 Tim Boys, 20 Fumiaki Tanaka, 21 Hayden Parker, 22 Buxton Popoali'i.

Chiefs: 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Patrick Osborne, 13 Tim Nanai-Williams, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke, 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Rhys Marshall, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Toby Smith, 17 Ben Tameifuna, 18 Michael Fitzgerald, 19 Tanerau Latimer, 20 Augustine Pulu, 21 Charlie Ngatai, 22 Lelia Masaga.

Referee: Steve Walsh

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 5
Northampton vs Gloucester19:45
Saturday , September 6
Saracens vs Wasps14:00
Sale vs Bath14:00
Leicester vs Newcastle15:00
London Irish vs Harlequins16:30
Sunday , September 7
London Welsh vs Exeter14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , September 6
New Zealand vs Argentina08:35
Australia vs South Africa11:05
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 5
Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso19:35
Munster vs Edinburgh19:35
Saturday , September 6
Scarlets vs Ulster14:40
Connacht vs Newport Gwent D'gons17:00
Glasgow vs Leinster17:15
Sunday , September 7
Zebre vs Cardiff Blues17:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 5
Montpellier vs Castres20:45
Saturday , September 6
Brive vs Toulouse14:45
Clermont Auvergne vs Racing Metro Paris17:00
Lyon vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Bayonne18:30
Grenoble vs La Rochelle18:30
Toulon vs Bordeaux-Begles20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 5
Western Province vs Eastern Province Kings19:10
Saturday , September 6
Cheetahs vs Pumas15:00
Sharks vs Griquas17:05
Blue Bulls vs Lions19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Sunday , August 31
Taranaki 41 - 3 Bay Of PlentyTaranaki vs Bay Of Plenty Report
Auckland 16 - 16 TasmanAuckland vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Saturday , August 30
La Rochelle 37 - 25 ToulouseLa Rochelle vs Toulouse Report
Grenoble 37 - 23 Bordeaux-Begles
Oyonnax 33 - 6 Stade Francais
Castres 30 - 6 BayonneCastres vs Bayonne Report
Racing Metro Paris 17 - 10 ToulonRacing Metro Paris vs Toulon Report
Lyon 24 - 6 Brive
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 25 - 36 CheetahsGriquas vs Cheetahs Report
Eastern Province Kings 22 - 41 LionsEastern Province Kings vs Lions Report
Blue Bulls 18 - 23 Western ProvinceBlue Bulls vs Western Province Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Counties Manukau 21 - 27 Hawkes BayCounties Manukau vs Hawkes Bay Report
Southland 22 - 33 Otago
North Harbour 16 - 22 WaikatoNorth Harbour vs Waikato Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne 20 - 21 MontpellierClermont Auvergne vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 32 - 22 SharksPumas vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Wellington 21 - 27 ManawatuWellington vs Manawatu Report
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury 48 - 3 NorthlandCanterbury vs Northland Report
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato 17 - 46 TaranakiWaikato vs Taranaki Report
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu 7 - 35 AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Report
Bay Of Plenty 27 - 56 TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
Argentina 31 - 33 South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Brive 6 - 21 Clermont AuvergneBrive vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 38 - 12 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00