Chiefs Back On Top After Rebels Romp

Publish Date
Sunday, 22 May 2016, 9:07AM
NZ Herald

NZ Herald

After stumbling into their bye on the back of defeat, the Chiefs tonight found a much firmer footing to return to the top of the Super Rugby table.

Dave Rennie's men rode an explosive first half to a bonus-point victory over the Rebels in Hamilton, offering enough evidence that their once-fearsome attack was almost back to its lethal best.

A sloppy second spell was a different story, leaving the coach in an ambivalent mood, and far tougher tests than tonight await after the international break, when derbies against the Crusaders and Highlanders could determine the fate of the Kiwi conference.

But a convincing victory was needed to arrest the downward trend the Chiefs had been displaying and Rennie was more than satisfied with being back on top.

"That's what we set out to do," he said. "It's funny - if we'd had stuttered our way through the first half and had a swashbuckling second half, we'd probably be quite buoyant.

But when it happens the other way round there's a fair bit of frustration. But that's not a bad thing - we've got high expectations."

Those expectations were more than met in the opening 40 minutes, with the Chiefs not quite running rampant but coming pretty close as they romped to a match-winning advantage. Almost everything was working for the home side as they ripped apart the Rebels defence ease, perhaps unfortunate to cross only four times.

The Chiefs lost their fluency after the break as the game petered out to a predicable conclusion and, while the damage had been done, Rennie was unhappy with his charges being unable to completely kill off the game.

"It must have been an inspirational halftime team talk," he joked. "The first 35 minutes we were really sharp, showed good intensity, built pressure and scored from that. But we just never really got going in the second half and that was disappointing."

Read the full report at NZ Herald

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