The Reds couldn’t create a second miracle over a Kiwi powerhouse this season, with a 50-5 loss to the Chiefs on Friday night.
Left 13 men down midway through the first half, the Reds had openside flanker LIam Gill feeding the scrums as the Chiefs ran away to a 33-5 lead at the break.
Seta Tamanivalu drew first blood for the Chiefs in the second minute, with tighthead prop Atu Moli crashing over in the 13th minute.
In the battle between Tamanivalu and Reds centre Samu Kerevi, it was the Chiefs outside centre that came out well on top, finishing with a first half double.
Kerevi did set up Chris Kuridrani for the Reds’ only try of the night, breaking a tackle and managing to get an outside pass away to Kuridrani to go over in the corner.
Errant kicking from Nick Frisby, with one long-range boot going dead, didn’t help the Reds’ situation.
The Reds’ situation went from difficult to disastrous in the space of three minutes, after a desperate challenge from Frisby resulted in a Chief penalty try and a yellow card in the 29th minute, before fullback Jack Tuttle was sent to the bin two minutes later.
The visitors wasted little time in capitalising on the two-man advantage, with Aaron Cruden and Sam Cane combining for the Chiefs’ fourth try before Tamanivalu’s second ahead of the break.
Chiefs winger James Lowe had a try disallowed in the 52nd minute but fullback Damian McKenzie almost immediately rectified it, breaking away on the left edge to score a try for the first time games, the first of two tries for the breakout star.
A Hendrik Tui turnover led to the game-sealing try for Chiefs hooker Nathan Harris, finishing off his side’s ensuing attacking passage in the 68th minute.
If the loss wasn’t painful enough, captain James Slipper came off in the 36th minute with a possible chest injury, with Sef Fa’agase replacing the loosehead.
The Reds will host the Rebels next weekend in their final game of the season, with the home side searching for their fourth victory of the year.
(Tries: Tamanivalu 2 McKenzie 2, Moli, Penalty, Cane, Harris Cons: McKenzie 5)