Chiefs put Rebels to the sword

Super Rugby
Chris Ford Profile
by Chris Ford

The Chiefs have kept their title ambitions on track after putting the Rebels to the sword in Hamilton, racing away 36-15 winners.

A four try first half set up the big win with the Rebels chances of winning the Australian conference all but over.

Melbourne were ambushed early, coughing up possession and allowing Chiefs centre Seta Tamanivalu to dart over from close range with just four minutes on the clock.

Seta Tamanivalu opened the scoring for the Chiefs. Photo: Getty Images

Coming off the bye the Chiefs were full on energy early, highlighted by the effort of hooker Nathan Harris who chased down an Aaron Cruden grubber to grab their second try of the night.

Mike Harris was handed the kicking duties after an off-night for Jack Debreczeni against the Brumbies last week but the fullback struggled in the dewy conditions with a penalty striking the post as the Rebels tried to close the margin.

The Chiefs had a bonus-point try with just 25 minutes played after a subtle pass from scrumhalf Brad Weber allowed Toni Pulu to bust over from ten metres out.

It got ugly just shy of the half hour mark for the Rebels with lock Sam Jeffries forced off with concussion, before Chiefs winger James Lowe sliced straight through to setup Cruden for a try of his own two phases later.

Culum Retallick replaced Jeffries, lining up a second row battle against his cousin Brodie for the Chiefs.

Harris stormed into the second half, running a short ball off Debreczeni to barge over before converting his try to bring the margin back to 16 points.

Mike Harris starred for the Melbourne Rebels. Photo: Getty Images

The fullback starred in the second half but was harshly penalised in an attempted turnover that allowed Cruden to kick the Chiefs score to 29 and take his personal tally to 14.

Harris’ opposite number Damian McKenzie had a quiet night for the Chiefs until the 71st minute, where he made the linebreak before throwing a cutout ball over the top of Rebels replacement Kotaro Matsushima, for the Chiefs fifth try of the night with centre Andrew Horrell getting on the scoresheet.

The game opened up with full-time looming, as Harris again injected himself into the game, replying with a linebreak of his own before teeing it up for Reece Hodge to run away for the Rebels second.

Melbourne now with an eight day turnaround before facing the Western Force in Perth next Sunday. 

CHIEFS

Tries: Tamanivalu, Harris, Pulu, Cruden, Horrell Cons: Cruden, McKenzie 3 Pens: Cruden

REBELS

Tries: Harris, Hodge Cons: Harris Pens: Harris

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