Chiefs raids scalp Waratahs - Green and Gold Rugby
NSW Waratahs

Chiefs raids scalp Waratahs

Chiefs raids scalp Waratahs

The Chiefs put paid to any spluttering hopes the Waratahs may have had to win the Australian Conference when they when they scored 18 points in the first 30 minutes in Hamilton.

The scoring was even in the second half as the Waratahs played their regulation good 40-minute period, but again, it was too late.

First half

The Chiefs shell-shocked the sleepy Waratahs from the outset. One team was playing, the other was watching them making breaking breaks at will out wide.

They were prepared for the Waratahs’ narrow defence and shifted the ball out quickly. They often outflanked the defence or turned back in and stepped inside the tackle, and they targeted the slow-turning Taqele Naiyaravoro. .

Aaron Cruden and Anton Liernert-Brown combined to put Mitchell Brown away for the first try and Damian McKenzie zipped in and around defenders to put James Lowe away to score the next one. The Chiefs lead 10-0 at 16 minutes.

The Waratahs tried to attack but poor discipline and handling cost them dearly. Only Israel Folau was a constant threat. The fullback chimed into the attack nicely and either beat defenders and then kept the ball alive or drew the defence and passed to put the winger away.

Tolu Latu was yellow carded in the 35th minute for a stupid trip and the Chiefs accelerated as the Waratahs wilted.

Halftime score: Chiefs 18 – Waratahs 3

Tawera Kerr-Barlow – should have got extra points for his dive

The Chiefs scored two quick tries whilst Latu was still in the bin—one to James Lowe and another to Tawera Kerr-Barlow.  Chiefs 32-3 four minutes after the break.

The Waratahs attack revved into gear in the second half as many breaks were made, passes stuck and offloads landed.

Rob Horne and Will Skelton scored the next two tries—in six minutes.  Horne’s try was from just inside halfway when he intercepted a wayward pass from McKenzie. Skelton’s was from a rolling maul.  Chiefs 32-17 with 24 minutes left.

But the Chiefs responded quickly with another try to Kerr-Barlow.

Next the inexperience of the referee Paul Williams was made evident. On a Waratah penalty, there was a late tackle by Liam Messam, followed by a player running in from both sides. The first one in that caused a scuffle was a Chiefs’ player. The referee yellow carded both of them but inexplicably awarded the penalty to the Chiefs.

Additionally the referee forgot to call time off and 2-3 minutes were lost.

The Waratahs responded by scoring two tries in two minutes, one from close range and the other from over 40 metres. One was to the winger Cameron Clark the other to the prop Sekope Kepu.

It was Kepu who sprinted 45 metres breaking tackles, out-sprinting Lowe and repeatedly palming off McKenzie. It was a sight to see. It was the 73rd minute and the score was Chiefs 39-31.

Stranger things have happened but…the Chiefs had the final say with clever work by Cruden assisting Lowe for his third try.

Final score: Chiefs 46 – Waratahs 31

Sekopu Kepu – scored brilliant prop’s try from a long way out

The wrap-up

Most of the stats would indicate that the Waratahs should have won. They had 60% possession: they ran more metres; they had more carries; they beat more defenders; they had the same number of clean breaks; they had more passes. The Chiefs had more offloads.

As has been the case all year it was the defence that cost Waratahs this game.

The Waratahs missed 25% of the tackles they attempted. They let in more than 40 points, and let in six tries to the four allowed by The Tribe. Eerily these are the same stats against all the New Zealand teams this season, scoring four ties to six and having more than 40 points scored against them by each.

Horwitz, Foley and Naiyaravoro missed the most tackles in the backs and Latu and Kepu the most in the forwards.

Nathan Grey has done a poor job as defence coach and it is of great concern that he is the Wallabies’ defence coach.

Israel Folau – back in form now

Folau , Horne, Hooper and Kepu were the best for the Waratahs. It is must be welcome for the Wallabies that Folau is back in form with four high-standard games in a row.

But to balance the Wallabies should be concerned at the drop in form of Foley in his last two games notably against New Zealand opposition. You often read that someone has a rock and diamonds game. Foley had a rocks and stones type of game. Foley kicked poorly from hand missing several penalties for touch, missed several tackles, made poor passes and lacked creativity.

The Chiefs excelled in fast moving attack and amazing ball handling skills at pace. They were the deserved winners. James Lowe, Kerr-Barlow, Damian McKenzie, and Liam Messam were the best for the Chiefs.

James Lowe – hat-trick try scorer and Man-of-the-Match

The Game Changer

Tolu Latu’s yellow card.

The two tries scored in his absence were killers.

The Chief’s lead was increased by 14 during while he was sitting down and the Waratahs’ comeback was delayed also.


James Lowe was dangerous all night.

He was fired up in attack and defence, a man on a mission.

Broke tackle after tackle, and had the knack of popping up in all the right places.

Wallaby Watch

Folau had a top game; Kepu was good in attack and in the scrum; Latu was poorly disciplined; Hanigan went missing; Hooper was energetic; Foley’s play was mistake-ridden; Robertson scrummed poorly but played well otherwise.

Score & Scorers

Chiefs – 46

Tries: J. Lowe (30′, 40′, 78′), T. Kerr-Barlow (43′, 59′) M. Brown (14′).

Conversions: D. McKenzie (16′, 42′, 44′, 60′, 78′).

Penalties: D. McKenzie (8′, 21′).

Waratahs – 31

Tries: R. Horne (49′), W. Skelton (55′), C. Clark (72′), S. Kepu (73′).

Conversions: B. Foley (50′, 56′, 72′, 74′).

Penalty: B. Foley (40′).

Cards & Citings

Yellow Cards
Waratahs – T. Latu (37′) – foul play (tripping)
Chiefs – M. Brown (64′) – running in.
Waratahs – P. Ryan (64′) – running in.




  • Huw Tindall

    Was Grey defence coach when the Tahs won in 2014? They had a great record that year. What’s changed?

    • New Zealand has changed?

      • Tommy Brady

        NZ sides have learnt the easiest way to rip apart an Australian defense is attack structured defense through the middle with big forwards who offload to backs who bust open the backfield. Cover defense schemes kick in but get stretched as the ball is shifted to the very outer channels to exploit 3 on 2 or 2 on 1 match-up’s. It’s damaging because players consistently run straight lines to square up defenses. The simplicity, speed of execution and the catch & pass skills of seemingly every NZ player in tight, contested situations make it so effective. “Ball beats man” an old rugby adage. Those odds rise to 100% when done with speed, skill and accuracy. Just ask Australian teams in 2017.

    • PeterK

      nothing and that is the issue.

      Teams have worked out the weaknesses of that pattern of defence and Grey has not adjusted.

      • Adrian

        Exactly…kiwi teams make a point of a full on attack from the first turnover phase + they clearly have players watching for Waratahs in transition between positions

    • lee enfield

      I wouldn’t worry guys. Grey and Cheika will only need a week to turn things around at Wallaby level.

  • first time long time

    I agree the ref got it wrong at that scuffle but not because of which way the penalty went but because it should have been foley who was carded. He started the whole thing and was attacking Messams head and neck and I would think he was not only lucky to stay on the field but lucky not to get pulverised.
    All the Chiefs blindside did was push him off Messam.

    • PeterK

      No if you want to look at it that way then Messam should have been carded as well for a very late tackle after the whistle. That is what started everything, why Foley was pushing him.

      • first time long time

        I didn’t think it was that late, he was pretty much committed to the tackle, always looks bad in slow mo but that’s just how I saw it.
        If Foley hadn’t pretended to be a tough guy there wouldn’t have been any penalty or cards

        • PeterK

          what foley did happens all the time and doesn’t even get penalised. Foley only did it because messam tackled him after the whistle AND hung on not allowing a fast play the ball.

        • first time long time

          I think that was Broncos you were watching ; )

        • PeterK

          tahs had a penalty for chiefs being offside well in front of the kicker, foley wanted quick ball for a quick tap then, didn’t mean a play the ball like league, I mean literally for the next play

        • first time long time

          And the markers weren’t square!

  • first time long time

    I was thinking last night about our wingers… None of our options would even get a sniff of an all blacks jersey but the kiwis who can’t get a look in for the all blacks eg Lowe, would be walk up starters for the wallabies.
    Pretty sure that translates to most positions at the moment.

    • Pclifto

      Think you are broadly right, though think Speight would be in the mix

      • first time long time

        Sure but a guy like Lowe is a much more complete footballer and can’t even get a look in

        • joy

          Complete!! Can’t tackle.

        • first time long time

          Just to make you happy Joy, completely better than any winger we have.
          Just saw one set of stats that said he won one lineout as well!
          Now he’s complete

    • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

      Sad but true.

      Hopefully this national coaching ‘brain storming’ or what ever it is that’s coming up, needs to look at the best use of who we have to give ourselves the best chance of winning. I know it was a long time ago, but the Rod MacQueen period of success may hold some ideas that we can use. I’m not suggesting we go try and turn the clock back, but I live in hope that we can rediscover what it was that had the Wallabies regarded as playing smart rugby.

      I sit and wonder if a meeting of Cheika, Dwyer, Jones, MacQueen and other sharp minds, would be productive or a huge waste of time. For me it’s worth trying and hopefully will cover plans to influence rugby from grass roots, to NRC, country footy and al the way to the Wallabies.

      • first time long time

        Macqueen did have the luxury of a number of players who were the best in the world at the time and some of them were on the bench.

        Don’t get me wrong I think we can be competitive but we need to pick guys in form playing in position and dare I say it Cheika needs to be less pigheaded about how he wants the game played and adjust to the strengths of his players.

        I find it very strange that the incumbent wallabies 12 and 8 aren’t playing those positions in the worst team in super rugby.
        Mafi is great but is of no use to Australian rugby and he is the one that should be playing out of position.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Love watching him play though

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        If they work for the good of Australian rugby and not their own state/franchise/club then I would expect some good but TBH the whole coach, referee, administrator pathway needs sorting or there’ll always be a weak link

    • joy

      Lowe missed 6 tackles most on Yaravoro. So we select him for the Wallabies to defend against Savea. How many tackles does he miss? Will it be more that the number of henchmen on this site calling for his blood?

      • first time long time

        I’ll take his stats and 3 tries over Naiyaravoro’s any day.
        Also one of those missed tackles when he was bumped off by Naiyaravoro, he came back for a second dip and got the turnover.
        The Tahs got 6 tries put on them all from pretty long range, their back 3 either missed a few or went missing

  • Gilbert

    “As has been the case all year it was the defence that cost Waratahs this game.”
    can some one ask Nathan Grey to please resign. Its sad to see the Tahs humbled but don’t do it to the Wallabies…. please for rugbys sake resign Nathan and go work for the Saders.

  • Julius

    “On a Waratah penalty, there was a late tackle by Liam Messam, followed by a player running in from both sides. The first one in that caused a scuffle was a Chiefs’ player. The referee yellow carded both of them but inexplicably awarded the penalty to the Chiefs.”

    This is utter nonsense. It doesn’t remotely resemble what happened.

    • PeterK

      In detail.
      Chiefs kicked the ball deep, he went to ground , all the chasers off side. Referee blows the whistle awards a penalty for in front of the kicker. Messam then does a very late tackle. Foley next to tackle wrestles with Messam and pushes him towards the ground with his arm on the back of his neck. Mitchell Brown runs in and 3rd man then Paddy Ryan also runs in (amongts other players both sides who do not offend). Referee is THEN told by TMO to review it for blue 17 coming in ignoring both the late tackle and 1st chiefs player running in. The referee asks to review it. Now finally he waves for time off. The time officials miss this and time still continues. The producers carefully run the review starting at the time of Foley’s scuffle thus avoiding showing messam’s very late tackle. Some time into the review the clock actually stops. The TMO keeps pushing the blue 17 coming in. The ref and tmo finally agree 2 players ran in Chiefs the first one. So fair enough 2 players get carded BUT since the first foul play is the chiefs the penalty should have been to the tahs. Penalties are in order of offence, with a techncial infringement being over ridden for foul play. Multiple foul play and the penalty is to the first one.

      • idiot savant

        Nice of you to put Williams decision down to inexperience. Couldn’t be bias surely. Its not like he’s got form in using interpretations against Australian sides….

        • PeterK

          forgetting to blow time off I am sure is an inexperience thing.

          The incorrect by law hometown decision of awarding the penalty was due to inexperience because IMO he was pushed into it by the NZ TMO but it may be subconscious bias.

          Williams was reasonably consistent and penalised chiefs for the same things tahs did. Sure he missed the forward pass that led to a try. Last weeks NZ ref was biased with crucial hometown decisions and inconsistent penalties for the same offences.

        • idiot savant

          Nice of you to say it was subconscious! Personally I think there is a potential problem developing with young kiwi referees, Fraser and Williams particularly.

        • Julius

          “Last weeks NZ ref was biased with crucial hometown decisions and inconsistent penalties for the same offences.”

          Says you: a prolific whiner and distorter. Take a quick look back to the Reds Crusaders game in Brisbane. The tries awarded to the Reds from huge forward passes had even rabid Australian commentators muttering. I bet you never said a word.

      • first time long time

        I tried to tell everyone a few weeks ago that this ref wasn’t up to it….. Reds v Waratahs.
        Queue the silence.

      • Julius

        Twenty NZ v Australian Super rugby matches and none won by Australia. After EVERY match, Australian rugby chat is full of whining about referees. It doesn’t matter where the refs come from, Australia, NZ , SA, Argentina or Japan. Whinge, whine, bitch… Very sad. And, apparently, every single bad decision has gone against the Australian teams. There has never been one marginal decision in their favour. Oh the humanity.

        I must admit that the column did make me laugh. The bit about the “Game Changer” being Lotu’s yellow card for blatant foul play. Yes, the Chiefs scored two tries in his absence, but they also scored four when he was on the field!

  • Bernie Chan

    Why isn’t Nathan Grey under pressure…? He is the defence coach for both the TAHs and Wallabies…both leak points regularly…

  • skip

    Taqele Naiyaravoro has to be the slowest winger in super rugby history. I honesty think Dean Mumm is slightly quicker than he is. He basically got his hat handed to him by a guy with no test caps and it’s odd how the match commentators can say he’s hard man to tackle given how slow he is to reach top speed. He made almost no impression in the match and was absent for most of it.

    That said, this is as much about coaching as it is his ability. He can’t effectively defuse a kicking game aimed him and his pre season work as left him with the acceleration, manoeuvrability and turning circle of an oil tanker. It’s fine when he hits top speed but otherwise it’s easy to avoid him. As an aside, he scored his try against the clan by starting from the 22m and getting the ball at about the 5m, pretty much a third of the pitch to hit top speed.

    There seems to be this prevailing opinion that cos a big unit tears it up in the NRC (or shute shield) he’ll be able to do it at super level if he’s just given more of the same thing, i.e. size. We get beaten by the kiwis (and i very much suspect the first two Bledisloes will go as this match did) cos they are just more skilful and tactically aware.

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