HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND – APRIL 16: Etene Nanai-Seturo of the Chiefs scores a try (R) during the Super Rugby Pacific match between the Moana Pasifika and the Chiefs at FMG Stadium Waikato on April 16, 2022 in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)
Chiefs beat Moana Pasifika 45-12 in a one-sided Super Rugby Pacific match at FMG Stadium, Hamilton.
The Chiefs ran in six tries as they dismantled Moana Pasifika for the second time in 2022, as well as to claim a fifth victory of the Super Rugby season.
Etene Nanai-Seturo and Alex Nankivell both had storming matches, each bagged a brace in the Waikato.
Nanai-Seturo assisted Nankivell’s second, beat 10 defenders from five clean breaks for 138 metres on 12 carries, while making five tackles to boot.
Nankivell was just as impressive, making 75 metres from midfield off 11 carries. He beat seven defenders and made six tackles.
Luke Jacobson and Rivez Reihana also scored for Clayton McMillan’s side.
The win sees the Chiefs complete the double over Moana Pasifika after thrashing the islanders 59-12 at Mt Smart Stadium.
The Waikato men claimed the bonus point after dropping a forty-burger to go with their half-century win in March against the listless islanders.
Bryn Gatland had a sublime day off the tee. The 26-year-old first five-eighth was perfect, kicking a penalty and all six conversions for 15 points in the Tron.
Aaron Mauger’s team could once again only muster 12 points.
Anzelo Tuitavuki and Solomone Kata’s scored, and Lincoln McClutchie added one conversion.
The Chiefs won the game in the first half as Moana Pasifika’s set-piece and tackling failed once more.
Gatland kicked a goal and made all his conversions as the Chiefs led 24-5 at half time
Jacobson, Nanai-Seturo, and Nankivell all crossed in the first stanza.
Tuitavuki scored Moana’s only points in what was another disappointing display by the Pacific Islanders.
The visitors were completely outmatched again; they could not hold onto the ball, lost multiple lineouts once again, and missed too many first-time tackles.
Henry Taefu, captaining instead of Christian Leali’ifano, saw his side lose a scrum, get scrummed, and lose eight of 19 lineouts.
Jacobson’s side conceded 14 turnovers (same as the opposition), but also leak more penalties (10-8), while also losing a couple of lineouts and missing way too many tackles (177/208, 85%).
The Chiefs, not at their best, took time to get going.
Ten minutes in, Nankivell made a break around Taefu and threw a back-door pass to Chase Tiatia, who dived in to score; however, the fullback was tackled and his foot touched the chalk.
The opening score, however, came soon after when Jacobson picked up the ball as the opposition pack went backwards.
The try came from yet another lost lineout by the islanders, which gave the Kiwis another attacking scrum, and they made the visitors pay.
The hosts doubled their lead when Nanai-Seturo finished a wonderful solo effort. The winger had eight carries for 67 metres, beating eight defenders and a try in another electric display.
Gatland sent the winger through a hole from an overthrown lineout move.
Nanai-Seturo bounced off Niko Jones and swerved Timoci Tavatavanawai before slipping Ereatara Enari’s tackle to score.
Gatland converted both to make it 14-0 after 16 minutes, but the visitors hit back moments later.
During a sustained attack in their first foray into the Chiefs’ 22, Tuitavuki scored his first Super Rugby.
The winger, standing on the touchline, gathered Enari’s long, flat pass, and beat Shaun Stevenson to the flag. McClutchie could not convert.
Jacobson decided to slow the tempo after a couple of promising attacks for the islanders came to nothing.
Gatland kicked a 28th-minute penalty as his side regrouped.
With minutes to go before the break, Nankivell collected Tupou Vaa’i’s misplaced pass and scooted away to score his ninth SR try.
Vaa’i broke through a hole on the side of a ruck, and raced into the 22 before passing to Brad Weber. Weber could not gather, but Nankivell did to score under the sticks.
Moana Pasifika come out flying, but the Chiefs scalp the islanders with three more tries to one
Moana Pasifika started the secondhalf with a converted score to halve the deficit.
Enari burst through a hole next to the breakdown and sped into the Chiefs’ 22 before offloading to the supporting Kata to score under the sticks. McClutchie couldn’t miss.
McMillan’s men, however, hit back with a stunning team try that involved both backs and forwards, but was created by the three try scorers.
A sublime counter-attack from inside their own 22 saw the Chiefs send the ball through the hands to Nakivell.
The 25-year-old playmaker combined with captain Jacobson, who sent Nanai-Seturo away down the touchline.
The flyer put in a deft chip-kick as the cover-defender arrived, and Nankivell collected to run in untouched.
Chris Apoua hit Mitch Brown with a shoulder to the flanker’s jaw during the build-up, and the prop was off.
To make matter worse, Nanai-Seturo soon had a brace of his own after Tiatia’s fancy footwork and long pass put the 22-year-old away in the corner.
Gatland, perfect still, knocked over both conversions to make it 38-12 at the end of the third quarter.
Despite a late surge by Mauger’s men, Moana Pasifika could not cross.
Instead, it was McMillan’s charges who found their way over the whitewash.
With the clock ticking down, the home team went through 15 phases after winning another lineout against the throw before Reihana crashed under the posts.
Gatland did what he does.
Final Score: Chiefs 45 (24) Moana Pasifika 12 (5)
Tries – Jacobson, Nanai-Seturo (2), Nankivell (2), Reihana
Pen – Gatland
Con – Gatland (6)
Tries – Tuitavuki, Kata
Con – McClutchie
Cards – Apoua (Yellow, 52′)
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant Ref 1: Dan Waenga
Assistant Ref 2: Stu Curran
TMO: Shane McDermott
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 (co-captain), 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 (co-captain), 22 Rivez Reihana, 23 Jonah Lowe.
Moana Pasifika: 15 William Havili, 14 Timoci Tavatavanawai, 13 Solomone Kata, 12 Henry Taefu (captain), 11 Anzelo Tuitavuki, 10 Lincoln McClutchie, 9 Ereatara Enari, 8 Sione Tu’ipulotu, 7 Niko Jones, 6 Michael Curry, 5 Mahonri Ngakuru, 4 Veikoso Poloniati, 3 Chris Apoua, 2 Ray Niuia, 1 Ezekiel Lindermuth.
Replacements: 16 Samiuela Moli, 17 Taukiha’amea Koloamatangi, 18 Suetena Asomua, 19 Alex McRobbie, 20 Josh Kaifa, 21 Jonathan Taumateine, 22 Fine Inisi, 23 Lolagi Visinia.