Sat, May 25, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Chiefs’ defense the key as Reds fail to find a way through

AP, HAMILTON, New Zealand

The Waikato Chiefs yesterday produced an extraordinary defensive performance to keep their Super Rugby playoffs hopes alive with a 19-13 win over the Queensland Reds.

The Hamilton-based Chiefs led 19-6 at halftime and spent most of the second half pressed inside their own half, but kept out the Reds, who now have only a slight chance of advancing to the playoffs.

The Reds’ advantages of possession and territory, and their almost relentless attack forced the Chiefs to make 240 tackles. Queensland spent almost all of the final 10 minutes in desperate attack, crashing against the defensive line in wave after wave.

As the end approached, the Reds had a series of penalties that allowed them to camp on the Chiefs’ line, but the hosts repelled each charge and finally forced a turnover to end the match.

“My heart’s beating out of my chest,” Chiefs captain Brad Weber said. “That was a monumental effort to keep the Reds out there.”

“It was outstanding in that second half and, to be fair, we were probably our own worst enemies. We couldn’t get out of our own half and gave away a ton of penalties, but, man, there was a hell of a lot of fight there,” Weber said.

The Chiefs again showed themselves to be the best scavengers in Super Rugby, seldom holding possession in either half, but scoring three first-half tries against the run of play.

They scored through rookie backrower Pita Sowakula, prop Atu Moli and through Nanai-Seturo.

The Reds scored a second-half try through prop Taniela Tupou, but a lack of variation in their attacking play cost them dearly.

In Australia, the ACT Brumbies scored four tries to one at GIO Stadium as they defeated the South Africa-based Bulls 22-10.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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