Chiefs, Brumbies win in Super Rugby
HAMILTON, New Zealand (AP) — The Chiefs produced an extraordinary defensive performance Friday to keep their Super Rugby playoffs hopes alive with a 19-13 win over the Queensland Reds.
Also, Tevita Kuridrani scored three tries as the ACT Brumbies beat South Africa’s Bulls 22-10 to move six points clear atop the Australia conference.
The Hamilton-based Chiefs led 19-6 at halftime and spent most of the second half pressed inside their own half but managed to keep out the Reds, who now have only a slight chance of advancing to the playoffs.
The Reds’ advantages of possession and territory and their almost relentless attack forced the Chiefs to make 240 tackles.
As full time approached, the Reds had a series of penalties which allowed them to camp on the Chiefs goal line, but the hosts repelled each charge and finally forced a turnover to end the match.
“My heart’s beating out of my chest,” Chiefs captain Brad Weber said. “That was a monumental effort to keep the Reds out there.
“It was outstanding in that second half and, to be fair, we were probably our own worst enemies. We couldn’t get out of our own half and gave away a ton of penalties but, man, there was a hell of a lot of fight there.”
The Chiefs again showed themselves to be the best scavengers in Super Rugby, seldom holding possession in either half but scoring three first-half tries against the run of play.
The Chiefs had the ability to quickly turn possession into points but the Reds were one-dimensional, rarely using their backs and simply pounding through phase after phase.
That was evident in the crucial late stages. In the 69th minute, the Reds battered the Chiefs line through 21 phases before losing possession. Four minutes later they did the same and again came up empty handed.
The match featured three disallowed tries. The Reds were twice over the tryline in the first half but were called back for double movements. Chiefs winger Etene Nanai-Seturo appeared to have scored in the fifth minute but was called back for a knock-on over the line.
The Chiefs finally scored through rookie backrower Pita Sowakula, again through prop Atu Moli and through Nanai-Seturo.
The Reds scored a second-half try through prop Taniela Tupou.
The Brumbies secured a fifth win in their last six games, with inside center Irai Simone scoring a try — his first in Super Rugby — and setting up two of Kuridrani’s tries.
The win pushed the Brumbies closer to clinching the Australia conference, though the Melbourne Rebels can close the gap Saturday when they play Japan’s Sunwolves.
The Pretoria-based Bulls may be out of playoffs contention in South Africa, with matches remaining in New Zealand against the Blues and Highlanders.