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Chiefs rule; Cats sleep

Fotopress

Friday, April 15, 2005    allblacks.com    Fotopress

Veteran halfback Byron Kelleher and fullback Sosene Anesi starred for the homeside, ensuring the party will go long & loud in Hamilton as the locals outscored their opposition six tries to two.

Returning skipper Jono Gibbes didn’t miss a beat either - leading from blindside in the battle of the loose as turnovers and a telling failure to finish robbed the Cats of any chance at victory in superb conditions.

Despite retaining possession for upwards of fourteen phases, first-points failed to materialise for the visitors, temperamental yet supremely talented No 10 Andre Pretorius dragging the first penalty attempt of the match left in the 7th minute.

And (having announced they’d targeted this game all season) how strange the Cats hadn’t kept speed-camera testers like Anesi and Sitiveni Sivivatu in their sights. After four minutes of breathless counter-attacking from both sides in the 13th, it was Anesi who broke the opposition up the middle, sparking a sweeping team breakout that Kelleher capped with the opening try.

A burst from Super 12 newboy and centre Niva Ta’auso in the 22nd minute helped lock Bernie Upton to the Chiefs second try. Again second-five David Hill converted, adding a penalty shortly afterwards.

17-0 Chiefs.

Just as they did in their 23-6 loss to the Blues a week ago, cracks began to appear in the Cats early resolve, with the visitors falling off tackles. Relief arrived in the form of a converted try to winger Conrad Jantjes, after lock Boela du Plooy had suckered the defence with a clever dummy: 17-7.

First to the rucks and mauls, the Chiefs dominated the remainder of the opening spell. First-five Stephen Donald following through his own kick to score after Cats no 11 Chumani Booi failed to control the ball in-goal, then big No 6 Sione Lauaki notching up the fourth bonus-point try on the buzzer.

Hill’s successful conversion kept his kicking record at 100%.

Halftime: 31-7 Chiefs

No doubt fired up by an unsavoury rucking incident before the break, Kelleher gave his team the perfect start to the second 40 with a solo effort inside the cats 22 in only the 43rd minute. Hill converted.

38-7 Chiefs.

Sivivatu was the next to score, showing superb balance to collect a David Hill in-pass whilst avoiding the rapidly approaching uprights. Hill’s sixth conversion took the homeside out to a 45-7 margin.

Long periods of play followed, yet lacked structure, Pretorius inexplicably keen to kick the ball away throughout the final quarter of the match. A mystery revealed when the Cats did attempt to run the ball... only to succumb to basic handling errors.

And it seemed to be catching: busy No 10 Donald fumbling with the line open in the 69th minute.

Cats No 8 Juan Smith brought a measure of respect with a late try.

The Chiefs now head to the airport with a crucial third Super 12 win tucked into their kitbag, not to mention a 747-sized confidence boost. They fly out tomorrow for South Africa, where they face the Bulls and Stormers before heading to Brumbies territory in Canberra.

Final score: 45-14 the Chiefs

Scorers

Chiefs. Tries: Bernie Upton, Stephen Donald, Sione Lauaki, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Byron Kelleher (2). Conversions: David Hill (6). Penalties: Hill.

Cats. Tries: Conrad Jantjes, Juan Smith. Conversions: Andre Pretorius (2).

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