Updated: 11:30am – The Chiefs have continued Australian rugby’s horror run against New Zealand opposition with 36-12 victory over the Queensland Reds in Brisbane.
The Reds rallied to save face in the second spell, but could not prevent a 35th consecutive loss by an Australian club to a New Zealand side.
“In that first 30 we looked pretty good but again we dropped away … they came back really hard,” Chiefs coach Colin Cooper said.
“It’s (bonus point) is crucial … could give you home advantage or not.”
The result not only allowed the Chiefs to reclaim third spot in the New Zealand conference, it completed a limp 24 hours for Australian rugby after the Waratahs were held scoreless for the first time in a dismal 29-0 loss to the Lions in Sydney on Friday night.
The Chiefs’ dominance started innocently enough when gun flyhalf Damien McKenzie slotted a penalty after a minor Reds line-out infringement.
But it got ugly fast as Canadian Tyler Ardron scored and fullback Charlie Ngatai ran through untouched for a 17-0 lead.
Solomon Alaimalo dropped the ball over the line after another McKenzie break but even the flyhalf’s early departure soon after thanks to a head knock didn’t slow the visitors.
Knock-ons, slow service, poor kick choices and hesitant defence didn’t help the Reds as All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick barged over for another.
Aidan Toua capped a forgettable first 40 minutes for the Reds by throwing a pass over the sideline when the tryline beckoned.
“That many errors, what can you do,” coach Brad Thorn said.
“It was good a bit of fight came (in the second half) but highly frustrating. First 30 was tough to watch.”
Substitute George Smith’s first appearance of the season after December back surgery did help the Reds hold their ground in front of 14,002 fans.
Caleb Timu shook off a big hit to be awarded what appeared to be a clever Reds try when he reached out and planted the ball on the upright’s padding.
But, in a scenario Thorn could only wryly smile over, the decision was reversed when replays showed he had knocked on just as Jono Lance was lining up the conversion.
McKenzie passed his head injury assessment but, to his annoyance, was kept on the bench, and Slipper admitted a nagging collar bone complaint could keep him out of Saturday’s clash with the Lions.
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