Chiefs hold out Reds in desperate defensive struggle

By Jamie Wall

It wasn’t the prettiest game to watch, but the Chiefs aren’t that fussed after beating the Reds 19-13 in Hamilton last night.

Although they outscored the visitors three tries to one, the Chiefs gave up an astonishing amount of possession and territory for most of the game. They had to make over 240 tackles compared to only 80 by the Reds, something that skipper Sam Cane admitted was ‘fun’.

“Personally I enjoyed it. Last week I talked about being a little bit hesitant in some things, but I was into it today. I thought we did the simple things really well and as a result, got over the line,” he said post-match.

The Chiefs scored all their points in the first half, firstly through a stunning try to number eight Pita Gus Sowakula. They followed it up with another through prop Atu Moli, and then Etene Nanai-Seturo scored on the stroke of halftime.

All the Reds could manage were two penalties to Bryce Hegarty, however, any thoughts of them rolling over were put to rest after halftime, in which they presumably got a serious talking to by coach and former All Black Brad Thorn.

They scored the only points of the second half, through former Auckland schoolboy star Taniela Tupou, which made the score 19-13 with 24 minutes to play. However, despite throwing everything they could muster at the home side, the Reds couldn’t crack the line again.

Despite the loss, Thorn was proud of his team, praising the inexperienced pack and halfback Tate McDermott.

Chiefs coach Colin Cooper was in two minds after the win, saying he was proud of the defensive effort but frustrated at the lack of ability to put the Reds away.

“These guys played for each other, you can’t coach that. It was great to see that again.”