Chiefs run five past Stormers

14th Mar 2014, 08:57

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First try: James Lowe

First try: James Lowe

Taking their chances when they came, the Chiefs in the end ran in five tries against the Stormers with a 38-20 win in Hamilton.

Taking their chances when they came, the Chiefs in the end ran in five tries against the Stormers with a 38-20 win in Hamilton.

Overwhelmingly scrappy at times, the Chiefs displayed that extra touch of class when it mattered to score five tries thanks to James Lowe, Tom Marshall, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Tevita Koloamatangi and finally Tanerau Latimer.

The win maintains the two-time champions' lead at the top of the New Zealand Conference, although they were not quite at their best for large portions of the match. The bounce of the ball though went their way when it counted, with the one-two punch of tries from close range at the death from Koloamatangi and Latimer sending the Stormers away with nothing.

Opting to catch the visitors out down the flanks there were plenty of chances for Lowe, on his first start, and Tim Nanai-Williams to work with, in an attempt to stretch open a Stormers defence that had proved resolute at times during last week's one-point loss to the Crusaders.

Credit must go though to Allister Coetzee's team, whose replacements made a huge impact in hauling the visitors back into losing bonus point territory until the late surge from the home side.

The Stormers had begun perfectly with a penalty from Demitri Catrakilis, Cruden swiftly countering to make it 3-3 for most of the first quarter until Lowe scored.

A bizarre grubber kick from Tom Marshall ended up ricocheting off the back of his boot up and over into his hands, before the former Crusaders back supplied the pass for Lowe to dot down in only his third appearance for the Chiefs.

Illegal binding at the scrum from Jamie Mackintosh handed Catrakilis his second three-pointer and so it remained at 6-10 until nearly half-time.

Patience and continuity from the Chiefs paid off, Marshall with the break and attempted offload only for the ball to go backwards off Kobus Van Wyk to present the centre with a simple finish. A touch of fortune in the Chiefs opening two tries, certainly, but it was just reward for the buildup.

Trailing 17-6 the Stormers had to hit back after the interval, but instead it was the Chiefs who scored again.

Nanai-Williams found space in the Stormers' 22 and offloaded into the path of Kerr-Barlow to open up an ominous 24-6 lead.

The way the Stormers had been struggling to construct positive phases in attack suggested they wouldn't be able to overturn the deficit in a stop-start second half.

But Aplon then produced a wonder score off first-phase ball for the Stormers to drag them back into the contest, using his speed and applying a hand-off on Aaron Cruden to leave the visitors only trailing by 11.

Aplon's try gave the visitors a spark just as de Allende's had the week before, Nizaam Carr with a couple of thunderous carries that then ended in a try for the replacement after his first one had put the Stormers deep into Chiefs territory, Grant's conversion leaving the gap at only four points.

As soon as the Stormers' belief had been restored though it was snuffed out, Koloamatangi pumping his way over from close range to secure the try bonus point for the Chiefs.

Gareth Anscombe nearly made it five tries with a lung-bursting 50-metre sprint in the dying minutes to leave the Stormers scrambling, but it did eventually end in a fifth when Latimer dove over from the back of an unstoppable rolling maul on his 100th Super Rugby appearance.

The scorers:

For Chiefs:
Tries: Lowe, T.Marshall, Kerr-Barlow, Koloamatangi, Latimer
Cons: Cruden 5
Pen: Cruden

For Stormers:
Tries: Aplon, Carr
Cons: Grant 2
Pens: Catrakilis 2

Chiefs: 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Tim Nanai-Williams, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Tom Marshall, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (c), 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Liam Squire, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Mahonri Schwalger, 1 Jamie Mackintosh.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Josh Hohneck, 19 Michael Fitzgerald, 20 Tevita Koloamatangi, 21 Brad Webber, 22 Robbie Fruean, 23 Asaeli Tikoirotuma.

Stormers: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Jean de Villiers (c), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Gio Aplon, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Deon Fourie, 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Ruan Botha, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Oliver Kebble, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Siya Kolisi, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Peter Grant, 23 Sailosi Tagicakibau.

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Nick Briant (New Zealand), Shane McDermott (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)