Sun, Apr 03, 2016 - Page 20 News List

High-octane Chiefs dismiss ACT Brumbies

Reuters, SYDNEY

The Brumbies’ Scott Fardy, left, is tackled by the Chiefs’ Toni Pulu during their Super Rugby match at the GIO Stadium in Canberra, Australia, yesterday.

Photo: EPA

Winger James Lowe yesterday touched down either side of halftime as the Waikato Chiefs made light of Australia’s strongest Super Rugby challengers by running in six tries for a 48-23 bonus-point victory over the ACT Brumbies in Canberra.

Flanker Tom Sanders and winger Toni Pulu also scored tries in the first half, with scrumhalf Brad Weber and Damian McKenzie crossing after the break to send the Chiefs top of the Australasian Group with five wins from six matches.

Fullback McKenzie, whose last-minute try was his seventh of the season, also chipped in with three conversions and four penalties as the 2012 and 2013 champions served notice that two years without the title might be long enough.

The Brumbies scored tries from prop Scott Sio and flanker Scott Fardy, as well as 13 points from the boot of Christian Lealiifano, but their much-vaunted defense looked almost powerless to resist the rampant Chiefs attack.

The swiftness of the Chiefs counterattack was evident in the 15th minute when a turnover ball was turned into a try after moving through just three pairs of hands, with Pulu showing good pace to touch down in the corner.

Lowe’s first try came from a longer build-up, which the winger set alight with a sprint down the touchline before finding Aaron Cruden on his inside and taking the return pass from the flyhalf to score.

A rare defensive error gave the Brumbies the field position for Sio to crash over four minutes before the break, but another attack involving the flying Lowe put Sanders over for the Chiefs’ third try and a 20-13 lead at the break.

McKenzie kept the scoreboard ticking over from the kicking tee, and although Fardy’s try reduced the deficit in the 54th minute, that was as good as it got for the Brumbies.

Lowe’s second try, his fifth of the season, came from an inch-perfect Cruden cross-kick and the winger’s own chip and regather helped set scrumhalf Weber free to score two minutes later.

BLUES 24, JAGUARES 16

Flyhalf Ihaia West survived a crunching Tomas Lavanini tackle and scored 19 points as the Auckland Blues came through an early test of their defense to hand Argentina’s Jaguares a defeat in their first match in New Zealand.

The Blues struggled to get their attack going and trailed to two Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias penalties before tries from loose forward Steven Luatua and West in the last nine minutes of the first half gave them a 15-6 lead at the break.

Gonzalez Iglesias reduced the deficit with his third penalty six minutes into the second half, but West responded with his second, third and fourth, which proved enough for victory despite replacement scrumhalf Gonzalo Bertranou’s try for the visitors.

CRUSADERS 43, LIONS 37

Ryan Crotty scored three of the six tries for the Crusaders in a thrilling 10-try game as the New Zealanders won away in South Africa for a second successive week.

It took less than a minute for Crotty to burst over the line and two further tries in the space of three minutes soon after halftime took the game away from the Lions after the Crusaders had a narrow 22-20 lead at the break.

Johnny McNicholl, Wyatt Crockett and Mitchell Drummond scored the other tries for the Crusaders, while Akker van der Merwe (2), Lionel Mapoe and Elton Jantjies went over for the home side in the thin air at Ellis Park.

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