Tahs’ season hanging by a thread after Chiefs go whack to post bonus point win


The Waratahs’ finals hopes are dangling by a thread after suffering their seventh loss of the year, as they went down to a strong Chiefs side 38-22 in Sydney on Friday night.

Despite running out to a 12-0 lead midway through the first half, the Chiefs ran in five straight tries to blow open the match midway through the second half.

A Lachie Swinton try in the 65th minute closed the margin to nine points, but interim Chiefs skipper Kaylum Boshier scored out wide after a clanger in the midfield from the Waratahs’ backline gave the visitors a chance to seal the deal. They didn’t need a second invitation.

Cortez Ratima scored an important try during the Chiefs’ win over the Waratahs at Allianz Stadium, on April 26, 2024, in Sydney. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The defeat leaves the Waratahs stranded in 10th spot on 12 points, but with a difficult three weeks ahead, including next up against the unbeaten Hurricanes in Wellington, their season is quickly getting away from them.

For the Chiefs, Clayton McMillan’s side leapfrogged the Rebels and Brumbies into third spot as New Zealand’s side enjoyed a strong start to the weekend by enjoying two big wins. It came after the Crusaders smashed the Rebels 39-0 to move off the bottom of the ladder and ahead of the Waratahs.

After dominating possession and territory in the opening 20 minutes thanks to an ill-disciplined Chiefs side, Waratahs skipper Jake Gordon lamented his side’s inability to play at the right ends of the field in the second half.

“I thought the first 40 was a really good battle,” he said. “Strong field position, we were getting dominance through our maul.

“Second half probably wasn’t as consistent. We turned pill over at the wrong side of the field and we allowed their backs to get quality ball and they were too good.

“I thought we needed to find a way to get down their end a little bit more.

“We knew how dangerous they were with the ball, so it was a balance between getting them possession but also defending well. We got the balance wrong in the second half.”

Emoni Narawa celebrates with Quinn Tupaea after scoring a try during the round ten Super Rugby Pacific match at Allianz Stadium. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

After going down to the Hurricanes ahead of their bye, Boshier was delighted with their comeback after their sloppy start to the match.

 “Not the ideal start for us, our discipline let us down,” he said.

“It wasn’t ideal, but I was proud of the way we stuck at it and ground our way back into the game. I thought our attack got going.”

Tupou Vaa’i was superb for the visitors, with the second-rower making 15 tackles and setting the tone in defence.

His teammate Samipeni Finau too tried to leave his mark, whacking Tane Edmed in the second minute with another shot on a fly-half. It was the fourth late fractionally late hit of the season.

After the Chiefs’ big men got them back into the match with the stronger set-piece, the Chiefs’ star-studded backline found their groove.

Damian McKenzie was brilliant at fly-half, while Anton Lienert-Brown straightened the line and brought a huge amount of physicality.

“We know the Waratahs are a physical pack and if you don’t win the physical pack you’re probably going to be on the wrong side of the scoreboard,” Boshier said.

“All week we focused on that and we made a big shift there. It’s just making sure our consistency is there.”

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