Centre Alex Nankivell and wing Etene Nanai-Seturo have scored two tries each to lead the Chiefs to a 45-12 Super Rugby Pacific win over Moana Pasifika in Hamilton.
Nankivell scored a try either side of half-time in Saturday’s match to help set up the win, while Nanai-Seturo dotted down in the 14th and 56th minutes.
Captain Luke Jacobson scored the Chiefs’ first try and Rivez Reihana their last, with the six-tries-to-two romp improving the team’s record to 5-3.
Chiefs flyhalf Bryn Gatland produced a flawless kicking display with seven goals from seven attempts.
Moana Pasifika (one win and seven losses) have now played six games in three weeks as they make up for matches postponed early in the season due to COVID-19. That created a massive test of their depth in their debut Super Rugby season, and their only win during that period was an upset victory over the Hurricanes on March 25.
“We knew Moana was going to come out firing. They’re a very physical team,” Jacobson said.
“They’ve won a lot of respect in this tournament.
“They’ve had a hard run, they came out week in and week out — or less than a week in and week out — and they put a good performance out.”Jacobson scored the opening try in the 11th minute from a line-out error by Moana Pasifika. He peeled from the subsequent scrum and dived over.
Nanai-Seturo’s first came in the 14th minute, again from a line-out, when Gatland was left in space and was able to work the ball to his flank.
Anzelo Tuitavuki drove through Shaun Stevenson’s tackle for Moana Pasifika’s first try in the 19th minute but Nankivell’s first try allowed the Chiefs to go to halftime with a 24-5 lead.
A try by Solomone Kata four minutes after half-time brought Moana Pasifika back into the match at 24-12, but Nankivell’s second re-established the Chiefs’ advantage.
Chiefs 45 (Tries: Jacobson try, Nanai-Seturo 2 tries, Alex Nankivell 2 tries, Reihana try, Cons: Gatland 6, Pens: Gatland 1) Moana Pasifika 12 (Tuitavuki try, Kata try, Cons: McClutchie 1). HT: 24-5.
CHIEFS: 15 Chase Tiatia, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Alex Nankivell, 12 Rameka Poihipi, 11 Etene Nanai-Seturo, 10 Bryn Gatland, 9 Cortez Ratima, 8 Luke Jacobson, 7 Kaylum Boshier, 6 Mitch Brown, 5 Tupou Vaa'I, 4 Josh Lord, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 Bradley Slater, 1 Ollie Norris.
Replacements: 16 Tyrone Thompson, 17 Aidan Ross, 18 George Dyer, 19 Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 20 Samipeni Finau, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Rivez Reihana, 23 Jonah Lowe.
MOANA PASIFIKA: 15 William Havili, 14 Timoci Tavatavanawai, 13 Solomone Kata, 12 Henry Taefu, 11 Anzelo Tuitavuki, 10 Lincoln McClutchie, 9 Ereatara Enari, 8 Sione Tuipulotu, 7 Niko Jones, 6 Mike Curry, 5 Mahroni Ngakuru, 4 Veikoso Poloniati, 3 Chris Apoua, 2 Ray Niuia, 1 Ezekiel Lindenmuth.
Replacements: 16 Samiuela Moli, 17 Tau Koloamatangi, 18 Suetena Asomua, 19 Alex McRobbie, 20 Josh Kaifa, 21 Jonathan Taumateine, 22 Fine Inisi, 23 Lolagi Visinia.
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant referees: Dan Waenga, Stu Curran