The defending champion Chiefs showed their true ability as they demolished the Cheetahs 45-3 in their Super Rugby encounter in Hamilton on Saturday.
Overcoming a spirited first half from the visitors, the Chiefs scored five second half tries to go to the top of the New Zealand conference and second overall - with only the Brumbies' bye points keeping them ahead of the New Zealand outfit,.
The Chiefs were perhaps fortunate to have held a 10-3 lead at the break - with the Cheetahs having enjoyed 60 percent of the possession and 70 percent of the territory.
Johan Goosen and Gareth Anscombe exchanged early penalties, before the half's only try came. The Chiefs won a penalty and set up a line-out, before the ball went wide. Augustine Pulu had a crack, before Liam Messam crashed over. Anscombe added the conversion to make it 10-3 - the half-time score.
The second try came from a Goosen kick being charged down, with the Cheetahs flyhalf well off his normal standards. Ben Afeaki strolled over after the Cheetahs were unable to get back in cover.
Asaeli Tikoirotuma killed of the Cheetahs' resistance when he scored just as the game moved into the final quarter - the try coming after a series of raids by the home team, with the scoring pass a sublime piece of play by Aaron Cruden. Anscombe's conversion made it 24-3.
Anscombe got the bonus-point try as the Chiefs again found the Cheetahs' defence wanting. The fullback added the conversion - 31-3.
Rhys Marshall and Ben Tameifuna completed the scoring as the Cheetahs disintegrated and the Chiefs ran out to a 45-3 win.
More to follow...
For the Chiefs:
Tries: Messam, Afeaki, Tikoirotuma, Anscombe, Marshall, Tameifuna
Cons: Anscombe 6
For the Cheetahs:
Chiefs: 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Tim Nanai-Williams, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Messam (captain), 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Michael Fitzgerald, 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Ben Tameifuna, 18 Craig Clarke, 19 Tanerau Latimer, 20 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 21 Charlie Ngatai, 22 Patrick Osborne.
Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Frans Viljoen, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Rynhard Landman, 19 Johannes Prinsloo, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Riaan Smith, 22 Ryno Benjamin.
Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand), Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
TMO: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)
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