Chiefs' win throws the competition wide open
Geez, that was an exciting, close game! The Chiefs’ win throws the competition wide open.
The only reason the Crusaders are certain of a spot in the final is not their number of competition points, points differential or total of wins, but the fact that the Blues and Chiefs game right at the end of the round robin is likely to knock one of these two out of the Final.
I held my breath a bit during the first half, when Mo’unga seemed to get injured in a tackle by Vaa’i. He was not well at all, for a while. It wasn’t clear on screen, but the radio commentators were talking about it quite a bit. He still played reasonably well after that though, but it seemed a bit with the break on.
Fainga’anuku failed his HIA and also McLeod was treated for an injury about 5-10 minutes before full time, and not looking good at all. They may need to give Rene Ranger another call… Brodie McAlister also slightly injured when he left the field. Who’s the Crusaders 4th hooker?
In the mean time, David Havili was massive on defence. 16 tackles made from 16 attempts; only one less than George Bower. Jordan also good (running 132 metres from 7 runs!).
No doubt, the Crusaders will play their first choice team - as far as available - against the Blues next week.
Did the Chiefs lose any players to injury? I think they survived this game quite well?
The Chiefs had 62% of territory and 61% of possession, so it’s obvious they didn’t have to tackle as much. Ross topped the Chiefs’ tackle stats with 10 tackles from 11 attempts.
Great to see Boshier back. Really making a difference. ALB also had a good game; he was the Chiefs’ metre eater with 64 metres from 11 runs.
As you’ll understand, I was quite happy to see Jonah Lowe score his first Super Rugby try. I just saw a tweet saying he’s now played more minutes for the Chiefs in SRA, then for the Canes in 3 years. That move to the Chiefs has been great for him. What a difference a coach makes that gives a player a chance!
After this game, I’m even more keen to see whether an ABs midfield of Havili and ALB would work. In 2016, our post-Nonu/Smith midfield worked best and the midfielders were Crotty and ALB. I think Havili and ALB could work just as well.