The Chiefs qualified for this year’s Super Rugby quarter-finals after notching an impressive 59-8 victory over the Rebels in Melbourne on Friday.
As the scoreline suggests, this was a one-sided affair and the Rebels will be disappointed with their effort as they needed a win or a draw to book their spot in the tournament’s knockout rounds.
But it wasn’t to be as the Chiefs controlled proceedings from start to finish and they eventually ran in nine tries to the Rebels’ one.
Shaun Stevenson led the way with a deserved hat-trick and their other five-pointers were scored by Sam Cane, Lachlan Boshier, Sean Wainui, Anton Lienert-Brown, Jack Debreczeni and Marty McKenzie. Debreczeni added six conversions and McKenzie also slotted a two-pointer off the kicking tee.
The Rebels’ only try was scored by Matt Philip, Reece Hodge kicked a penalty earlier in the game.
The visitors showed their intentions from the kick off by giving the ball plenty of air and this approach paid off in the 13th minute when Cane rounded off an attack which started deep inside his own half.
The Rebels responded with Hodge’s penalty but midway through the half, the visitors extended their lead when Stevenson crossed for their second try, this after a charge down from a Quade Cooper kick close to the halfway line.
And just before the interval, Boshier crossed for their third converted try – after Stevenson pounced on a loose pass from Hodge in the build-up – which gave the Chiefs a 21-3 lead at half-time.
They continued to dominate after the restart and held a 47-3 lead by the 57th minute thanks to tries from Wainui, Lienert-Brown, Stevenson and Debreczeni.
10 minutes later, Philip crossed for his try but it was too little too late as the Chiefs booked their play-off spot with further tries from McKenzie and Stevenson in the game’s closing stages.
In other action, earlier in the day, the Highlanders kept their play-off hopes alive after cruising to a 49-12 win over the Waratahs in Invercargill.
The home side dominated from the outset and led 42-7 at half-time.
They eventually outscored their visitors by seven tries to two with Josh McKay, Tevita Li, Tom Franklin, Waisake Naholo, Teihorangi Walden and Rob Thompson all crossing the whitewash and they were also awarded a penalty try. Their other points came via conversions from Josh Ioane (5) and Elliot Dixon.
For the Waratahs, Alex Newsome and Mack Mason scored tries and Mason also added a conversion.