Chiefs Beat Blues With Another Impressive Performance

Five tries helped the Chiefs to a deserving 29-23 win over the Blues in the Battle of the Bombays.

Aaron Cruden and Shaun Stevenson scored tries with their pace and by being able to draw in defenders, leaving Damian McKenzie to come through with crucial points off the boot when it really mattered.

Mitchell Graham scored his first try in Super Rugby, and Seta Tamanivalu showed his worth in the midfield with a try from pure strength close to the line.

The Blues toiled away all game long and threw everything at a Chiefs defense that proved to be too superior.

What is remarkable is that the Chiefs, despite all their travel, again proved that their fitness, undeniably, sets the standard in Super Rugby this year. Scoring four tries in total, their physicality on defense shut down a Blues side that didn’t kick for territory and rather tried a too direct approach.

The Blues scored two tries, and were in a position to win the game with a ten-point lead before the Chiefs came storming back with three tries in the second half. Continue reading Chiefs Beat Blues With Another Impressive Performance

McKenzie Breaks Century Record As Chiefs Thrash Brumbies

The Chiefs have broken a long losing-streak in Canberra dating back to 2008, punishing the Brumbies 58-23 tonight.

Dave Rennie’s men punished the Brumbies who went into the match as Super Rugby’s best defensive team, and closest-rivals to the Chiefs on the points table.

The Chiefs ran in six tries, including a double for James Lowe on the wing, and it was nothing short of punishing, a performance fitting of a team that deserves its place on top of the Super Rugby ladder.

Lowe’s two tries puts him into the top tier of players to dot over the line in 2016, but it was the wingers ability to kick into space and put the Chiefs deep into Brumbies territory that was equally as impressive. Continue reading McKenzie Breaks Century Record As Chiefs Thrash Brumbies

Chiefs Win Historic Jaguares Encounter 30-26 In Thriller

Brad Weber has scored what will go down as a famous try to hand the Chiefs a win over the Jaguares 30-26 in a thrilling finish.

A full house and expectant home crowd packed into Estadio Jose in Bruenos Aires for the Jaguares historic first home game in Super Rugby, and the new side packed full of regular Pumas nearly pulled off something special.

Leading at the break, the Jaguares appeared to have just fallen short, before a brilliant breakaway try with three minutes remaining put the hosts in front.

But a try at the death by Brad Weber, following by a perfect kick from Damian McKenzie on the touch line, snatched victory for the Chiefs, making Weber a hero, and providing a thrilling finish to one of the best matches in Super Rugby history.

Weber can pay a lot of his historic moment to Aaron Cruden, showing all his class as an All Black regular, helping to setup the try, and creating space for Weber to run into.

The full story:

Argentine rugby is known for its power at scrum time, so perhaps it was fate that the first try the Jaguares would score at home in Argentina came from this. Jaguares captain Augistin Creevy getting the honours as the first to score a try for the club playing at home.

A handling error after the kick off saw the Jaguares early lead be quickly snatched away, quick hands by the Chiefs backline saw winger Sam MicNicol score his debut try in Super Rugby in the corner.

Damian McKenzie added a fourth try in as many matches to increase the Chiefs lead after the Jaguares coughed up possession near their own try line for the second time.

Constant penalties began to mount against the Chiefs as the Jaguares continued to play their expansive, fast-flowing, and brave style, refusing to kick possession away. All Black halfback and experienced Chiefs player Tawera Kerr-Barlow was sent to the sin bin for playing the ball on the ground and illegally taking possession away from the Jaguares.

Nicolas Sanchez’s boot saw the Jaguares kick their way back into the lead with the score 14-13 at half time.

With Aaron Cruden failing to convert on his chances in the first half, Damian McKenzie was given the kicking duties, and continued his rich vain of form with the boot to kick the Chiefs back into the lead.

The dominance that the Jaguares had in the scrum fell away, and when the handling errors continued, Chiefs midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown created a counter attack, and James Lowe was there to clutch the pass and score in the corner.

The Jaguares kept their faith in an expansive style of rugby, often attempting to run the ball out of their own goal line.

After television replays showed Martin Landojo had touched the ball down, the Jaguars were right back in the match, and it was their daring brand of rugby that had been on the script all night that turned the match on its head again.

From deep in their own half, and helped by weak tackles from Chiefs defenders, Martias Moroni raced away to score, and put the Jaguares into the lead.

With precious time remaining, the Chiefs were awarded a scrum, and after a successful execution, Aaron Cruden found space and connected with Brad Weber to score a try that put the Chiefs back in front, but only by two points.

Damian McKenzie converted from out wide, giving the Chiefs a 30-26 lead, and the win.

Score Centre

Jaguares 26

(Augistin Creevy, Martin Landojo, Martias Moroni, Nicolas Sanchez 3 pen, 1 con)

Chiefs 30

(Sam McNicol, James Lowe, Brad Weber, Damian McKenzie 1 try, 1 pen, 2 con, Aaron Cruden 1 pen)

RWC Final: Daniel dared and Daniel achieved

The mighty All Blacks are still champions of World Rugby, and if you haven’t heard already, it was all about Daniel Carter.

Known as the best first five in the history of the game, Daniel Carter sealed his undying legacy in the 2015 World Cup final by notching 19 of his sides points including a drop goal that pushed the deficit beyond a try for the Wallabies. Carter then sealed the deal with a penalty from deep in his own half, clinching victory for the All Blacks and ending a brilliant career on the best note.

It was Carter’s finest performance in the black jersey – bar absolute none.

All Black captain Richie McCaw had the opportunity to score a try in what is expected to be his last game on the international level, but unselfishly, McCaw handed the ball off to Nehe Milner-Skudder to secure the first try.

The Wallabies were god awful in the first half, losing control of possession in contact on four occasions in the opening quarter, and while it took the All Blacks nearly an entire half to convert in the red zone, the reality is the losing of the game for the Wallabies came from their worst first half performance of the tournament.

The half time talk worked for the Wallabies, but not until the game was well beyond their grasp, and two tries while All Black fullback Ben Smith was in the sin bin counted for little more than a shimmer of hope in the end.

When it came to the crunch and the opportunity to snatch the game was there, the Wallabies couldn’t hold possession, they went into a panic, and then Drew Mitchell dropped the ball, allowing Beauden Barrett to chase down the loose ball and score under the posts.

The final score was 34-17 at full time, and the All Blacks didn’t just win on the scoreboard, they run the much talked about battle of the breakdown.

The heart has to go out to Wallabies coach Michael Chieka, he has installed a new sense of belief, attitude, and professionalism to the squad in such a short time at the helm, and to come so close and not quite get the cherry will no doubt be a bitter pill to swallow.

Much will be made about the result and what it means going forward, but for the here and now history has been made, the All Blacks are the first team to win successive World Cups and Richie McCaw has become the first captain to lead a side to this feat.

England’s humiliating RWC exit

England has crashed out of their RWC, and heads will no doubt be about to roll. Chris Robshaw and Stuart Lancaster may not survive this one.

Credit: CityAM

Australia humiliated the tournament hosts, thrashing England 33-13 in London on Saturday night in front of an expectant crowd, including members of the royal family.

England will now reflect on where it all went wrong in a short-lived tournament stint that never got off the ground, but they need not look any further than themselves after being blown off the park in a surprisingly poor performance.

English coach Stuart Lancaster apologised to the public in the post match press conference, but his words will do little to help heal the wounds to the heart of his players that will have to live with the reality of the next few weeks.

England will not get their hands on the RWC this time round, and it is a terrific shame for the tournament.

TV commentators said prior to the game that if England lost; fans would leave Twickenham and tear up their expensive tickets in disgust. One can’t help if at least a handful of the 82,000 strong crowd made largely of English fans did just that following the fulltime siren.

Crashing out of the tournament is one thing, but for England to do so on their home soil is humiliating. Not only is it the darkest day in the history of English rugby, Stuart Lancaster and his men now become the first host national to be eliminated from a RWC before the quarterfinals.

Given the amount of talent in this English side; this reality is staggering.

England were expected to do well at this World Cup, perhaps even go all the way, but on the night of Saturday October 3rd it was Australia who solidified their place as new tournament favourites.

Australia put on the most dominant performance seen at the RWC yet, their superiority at the breakdown kept England’s usually formidable forward pack contained and unable to contain the ball, but it was Bernard Foley’s impressive ability to step past the English defense that set Australia well ahead going into halftime.

Ultimately, England never recovered and the nail was put into the coffin when Owen Farrell was sent to the sin bin with ten minutes left on the clock.

In fact, Farrell’s opportunities were limited on goal in this match.

Sam Burgess’s big arrival on the rugby union stage came to an abrupt end; the midfielder had no impact off the bench in a theme that was familiar to both sides in the match. Australia’s bench threatened to undo all the good work, but England was simply left with not enough time left and too great a deficit.

Highlanders win first Super Rugby title

The Highlanders are Super Rugby champions after beating the Hurricanes 21-14 in a clinical performance.

(Photo credit: Sportal via Google Images) 

The final wasn’t without controversy when the TMO awarded Highlanders forward Elliot Dixon a try, however replays showed that Dixon hadn’t touched the ball down with any conviction.

The try would go on to be a crucial difference in the final outcome, but didn’t take away from the Highlanders who executed well across the park.

Hurricanes kicker Beauden Barrett had a difficult night, missing all his early kicks before finding some stability in the second half.

Each time the Hurricanes slotted penalties to draw closer, the Highlanders answered immediately, and with time running out, the Hurricanes began to panic and slipped off the game plan quickly.

Julian Savea will be haunted when he looks at the tape because not taking such a simple catch to score in the corner to score at a crucial time took the life out of the Hurricanes.

The Highlanders did a good job at keeping key Hurricanes attackers out of the game, and Lima Sopoaga was brilliant again with the boot and with ball in hand, working well in partnership with Ben Smith and Waiseke Naholo again.

A hometown crowd of nearly 40,000 couldn’t push the Hurricanes over the line, and it is a heartbreaking way to for the club to end such a successful season.

The Highlanders will return to Dunedin tomorrow as Super Rugby champions for the first time.

Naholo brilliance helps end Chiefs season

The 2015 Super Rugby is over for the Chiefs after losing to the Highlanders 24-14 in Dunedin tonight.

(Photo credit: Zimbio via Google Images)

The Highlanders were as elusive as ever with ball in hand, scoring two tries both by the brilliant skill of Waisake Naholo who is now surely one of the leading candidates to be announced in the All Blacks squad tomorrow.

Aaron Smith proved that he is undoubtedly the best halfback in the world tonight.

Smith played a key part in both tries, using his speed and vision to fool the Chiefs defenders who couldn’t put a hand on him all night.

Handling errors haunted the Chiefs, dropping the ball at key moments coupled with crucial misses on goal by Andrew Horrell who coughed up a potential six points in the first half.

Brodie Retallick refused to let his side die, powering over the line late in the game, but the final few build-up plays failed, two ending in handling errors, and one when Seta Tamanivalu was penalised in the ruck, effectively ending the Chiefs chances of levelling the scores with a minute to play.

When the Highlanders were awarded a penalty on the full-time hooter, Lima Sopoaga slotted the kick to send the Highlanders to their first semi final in 19 years.

Waisake Naholo is certainly New Zealand’s next All Black, he shut down the Chiefs defense each time he had the ball, and he performed in the big playoff game with the season on the line, something the All Black selectors would have noticed.

Naholo is now the top try scorer for Highlanders in a single season.

The Highlanders will play either the Hurricanes or the Waratahs next week as the playoffs continue.

Mooloos topple Steamers to end troubled season

Waikato have ended their up and down ITM Cup season with a solid 29-12 win over Bay of Plenty at Waikato Stadium tonight.

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Coming into the match following a thumping last week, Waikato showed good heart through what was a very scrappy rugby match. Both sides turned over far too much possession, but it was the Mooloos who took advantage, scoring four tries which included a second trip over the line for Hame Faiva in successive matches.

Returning from injury, Declan O’Donnell struggled to get his hands on the ball throughout much of the game, but when he did he took full advantage, scoring in the corner.

O’Donnell’s knee may well be examined post game, after the winger appeared to have tweaked his injury again following the try but played on for the full 80 minutes.

It was a solid outing for the returning Ben Tameifuna as well.

Waikato will no doubt be disappointed with their season despite tonight’s victory, falling short of the semi finals after too many unexpected poor results, including a few big losses against Canterbury, Taranaki, and Auckland.

The much talked about Damian McKenzie had a mixed season, but has shown some real signs of his talent which has been widely regarded as potentially world class.

But a win tonight for Waikato, and it’s back to the drawing board for Johnny Walters and his coaching team.