THE CHIEFS DOWNED THE SUNWOLVES 17-43 IN AN ENTERTAINING SUPER RUGBY MATCH AT PRINCE CHICHIBU STADIUM, TOKYO.
THE CHIEFS SCORED SEVEN TRIES TO THREE TO SEAL A BONUS-POINT WIN AGAINST THE STUBBORN SUNWOLVES, WHO STAYED IN THE GAME UNTIL AFTER HALFTIME BEFORE THE NEW ZEALANDERS PULLED AWAY.
Solomon Alaimalo, Shaun Stevenson, Brad Weber and Damian McKenzie, excelling in the Chiefs jersey again, all scored before the break as the Kiwis led by 12.
Garth April and Jaba Bregvadze scored for the Sunwolves before the interval to keep the hosts in the hunt.
Tyler Ardron was yellow carded before halftime, but it did not stop the New Zealander’s momentum as the visitors restricted the home team to five second-half points.
McKenzie added three conversions for a match-return of 11 points.
CHIEFS PULL AWAY AFTER THE BREAK
However, Warren Gatland’s men put their foot on the gas and pulled away after the break.
Lachlan Boshier, Quinn Tupaea and Kaleb Trask all dotted down after the break to give the visitors a comfortable win.
Shogo Nakano pulled a try back for the home team with six minutes to play, but that was all the Sunwolves could muster in the second stanza.
The win is the Kiwis’ sixth Super Rugby victory on the bounce, while the Sunwolves have won once and lost once after beating the Rebels in their opening Super Rugby fixture.
SUNWOLVES START FAST BUT FADE AWAY
Aaron Cruden, Anton Lienert-Brown and Sam Cane were all rested by Gatland, but even after a slow start, the Chiefs’ big-hitters were not needed.
April scored and converted his try to put Naoya Okubo’s men 7-nil up inside eight minutes.
The stand-off, from short-range, charged towards the whitewash and carried Atu Moli over the line with him.
Alaimalo and Stevenson both scored inside four minutes to give the visitors a lead they would not relinquish.
Weber and McKenzie combined before the fullback put Alaimalo away to put the Chiefs on the board.
Some slick handling by the backs was needed before the fullback and Alex Nankivell combined for Stevenson’s five-pointer.
Weber dotted down in the 24th-minute to extend the Chiefs’ advantage.
Adam Thomson’s short pass, after a well-worked Chiefs lineout, sent the halfback in for the try.
McKenzie also had time for a try-saving tackle on Keisuke Moriya before Weber’s five-pointer as the playmaker excelled in the sunshine.
The 24-year-old was soon in for a score of his own. The fullback started and finished in the corner after a line-break near the Sunwolves’ 22.
Weber found McKenzie, whose angled run allowed him to slip some weak tackling and sprint into the opposition’s 22.
The fullback’s long, floated pass sent Alaimalo away for what would have been the winger’s second, but the 24-year-old flyer waited to give the ball to McKenzie to touch down.
Ardron was sin-binned on the stroke of halftime and Bregvadze made the Waikato side pay after a powerful rolling maul.
That, however, was as good as it got for the Japanese.
CHIEFS CONTINUE SCORING ROUT WITH MORE TRIES IN THE SECOND STANZA
Boshier raced clear to make it 12-31 early in the second half.
The flanker gathered a loose Sunwolves pass, picking up the bouncing ball.
He put on the afterburners, running 45 metres to score under the posts, effectively killed the game.
Nakano scored in the 74th-minute to the delight of the home crowd, but two blows by Tupaea and Trask, both scoring their first Chiefs tries, secured an away bonus-point win for Gatland’s side.
FINAL SCORE: SUNWOLVES 17 (12) CHIEFS 43 (24)
Tries – April, Bregvadze, Nakano
Con – April
Tries – Alaimalo, Stevenson, Weber, D. McKenzie, Boshier, Tupaea, Trask
Con – D. McKenzie (3), Trask
Cards – Yellow (Ardron, 40′)
Sunwolves: 15 James Dargaville, 14 Siosaia Fifita, 13 Keisuke Moriya (c), 12 Ben Te’o, 11 Tautalatasi Tasi, 10 Garth April, 9 Naoto Saito, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Shunsuke Nunomaki, 6 Mitch Jacobson, 5 Michael Stolberg, 4 Kotaro Yatabe, 3 Conrad van Vuuren, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 Jarred Adams
Replacements: 16 Efi Ma’afu, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Justin Downey, 20 Tevita Tupou, 21 Takahiro Kimura, 22 Shogo Nakano, 23 JJ Engelbrecht
Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Quinn Tupaea, 12 Alex Nankivell, 11 Solomon Alaimalo, 10 Kaleb Trask, 9 Brad Weber (c), 8 Dylan Nel, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Michael Allardice, 4 Tyler Ardron, 3 Atu Moli, 2 Bradley Slater, 1 Aidan Ross
Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Ross Geldenhuys, 18 Reuben O’Neill, 19 Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 20 Mitchell Brown, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Tiaan Falcon, 23 Orbyn Leger
Sunwolves vs Chiefs
@ Prince Chichibu Stadium
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Shuhei Kubo (Japan), Tasuku Kawahara (Japan)
Television match official: Minoru Fuji (Japan)