Chiefs ease to big win over Sunwolves

Damian Mckenzie goes on a run for the Chiefs against the Sunwolves. Photo: Getty Images
Damian Mckenzie goes on a run for the Chiefs against the Sunwolves. Photo: Getty Images
Heading into the match against the Sunwolves in Tokyo without a host of their top-tier talent, it was fair to wonder how the Chiefs would fare with several wider squad players getting their shot.

That sense of bewonderment was quickly abolished, as the Chiefs ran their hosts off the park.

In front of one of the larger crowds you'll see during this Super Rugby season, the Chiefs put on a solid display of how to execute set play in a 43-17 dismantling of the Sunwolves.

The Sunwolves had started the season with a bang, comfortably beating the Rebels in round one before having a second-round bye. And when Garth April crossed for the first try of the match just seven minutes into the contest, it seemed they would be up to the test against the Chiefs.

That was until a slick backline move saw the ball move through plenty of sets of hands before Chiefs left winger Solomon Alaimalo was sent over in the corner for the side's first try less than five minutes later.

Within 15 minutes of the opening hooter, the Chiefs led 12-7, after a mirror-image move saw Shaun Stevenson dot down on the right wing.

Halfback Brad Weber and fullback Damian McKenzie were heavily involved in both plays, with McKenzie often playing at first receiver in attacking positions.

While the Sunwolves had their moments following the opening try, most of which coming from the work of April and midfielder Ben Te'o, their work at the cleanout was lethargic at best and the visitors were able to get over the ball far too often.

It allowed the Chiefs to secure extra possessions in the opening half and control the game, which eventually saw the lead extended when Weber scored after an Adam Thomson hand-off from a lineout set play.

McKenzie, playing his second match of the season after being scratched from the opening fixture against the Blues, crossed next after tearing through on a terrific running line to send Alaimalo away in the corner again. Rather than scoring himself, Alaimalo waited for McKenzie to arrive and handed the fullback the ball to score.

The Sunwolves were able to cross again through Georgian hooker Jaba Bregvadze, who found the line on the stroke of halftime, after a series of infringements inside their own 10 metre line saw the Chiefs lose lock Tyler Ardron to the sin bin.

Trailing 24-12 at halftime, there was still hope for the Sunwolves to mount a comeback. However, those hopes were quickly extinguished when flanker Lachlan Boshier pounced on a loose ball before streaking away for a try.

Pushing the lead to 31-12 and not looking like being run down, the Chiefs were able to empty their bench. The Sunwolves got on the board again late in the game through Shogo Nakano, but the Chiefs had the final say through Kaleb Trask, who scored at the hooter.

The win sees the Chiefs remain unbeaten through three weeks of the season, and they will now turn their attention to a clash against the Brumbies in Hamilton next week.

Chiefs 43 (Solomon Alaimalo, Shaun Stevenson, Brad Weber, Damian McKenzie, Lachlan Boshier, Kaleb Trask tries; McKenzie 3 cons, Trask con), Sunwolves 17 (Garth April, Jaba Bregvadze, Shogo Nakano tries, April con). HT: 24-12

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