Chiefs beat Moana Pasifika 43-7 and Reds edge Rebels 26-22 in Super Rugby Pacific

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) — The Hamilton-based Chiefs scored two tries while Moana Pasifika was reduced to 13 men and the Chiefs went on to win 43-7 Friday to stay on course for a home playoff in Super Rugby Pacific.

The Chiefs scored seven tries, taking a bonus point and moving from fourth to third place at the start of the weekend’s 12th round.

In a later match at Brisbane, the Queensland Reds edged the Melbourne Rebels 26-22 to maintain their hopes of a top-four finish.

Tries on either side of halftime when Moana Pasifika had lost Irie Papuni and Aisea Halo to the sin-bin set up the Chiefs for their eighth win of the season, ensuring they will stay inside the top four for another week.

The first try and first points of the match didn’t come until the 23rd minute. But after leading 12-0 at halftime, the Chiefs added three tries in the third quarter to lead 31-0 and five in a dominant second half.

Before the first try, both teams produced multiple phases of play mostly by using one-off runners which made the defenses’ job easy. The Chiefs broke up that pattern with more frequent kicks and won the contest for territory. When Moana Pasifka kicked, it was often inaccurately and they compounded that failing with handling errors and by conceding penalties.

The Chiefs began to use the ball more effectively in the second quarter, punching through the Moana Pasifika line with strong running from players such as hooker Samisoni Taukeiaho and backrower Simon Parker.

Flyhalf Josh Jacomb scored his first try in Super Rugby Pacific and center Quinn Tupaea scored his first try in two years as the Chiefs built their halftime lead.

Fullback Etene Nanai-Seturo extended the Chiefs’ lead with a solo try immediately after the second half restart. He pointed to a gap in the Moana Pasifika defense, kicked the ball to that spot, won the race to the bounce and spun out of a tackle to score.

Tries followed to center Anton Lienert-Brown and to Parker as a reward for his major impact on the match.

Moana Pasifika scored a consolation try through Anzelo Tuitavuki in the 71st minute. But the Chiefs finished strongly with late tries to captain Luke Jacobson and winger Liam Coombes-Fabling whose try in the first half was disallowed.

“It was probably a bit shaky at halftime. We were just expecting things to happen,” Jacobson said. “Once we got into some good work, sorted our carry and clean, things clicked into place.

“Our forward pack got the finger pointed at them at halftime. We were being a bit passive. Moana was bringing a lot of physicality to the collisions as we thought they would and we had to get thing sorted there.”

The win was an important one for the Chiefs who have a hard run home with matches to come against the first-place Hurricanes and second-place Blues.

The Reds, coming off an upset victory over the Crusaders a week ago in Christchurch, New Zealand, were outplayed on Friday in the first half at Brisbane and trailed 15-5 to a Rebels side hit hard by injuries to key players.

But they took advantage of a yellow card to Rebels winger Lachie Anderson, scoring three tries with him sidelined to remain in fifth place with three games to play.


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