Super Rugby Pacific: Chiefs put to sword by Wild Knights in pre-season clash in Japan

Shorthanded Chiefs have been convincingly dispatched in their first Super Rugby pre-season outing in Japan, handled 38-14 by Saitama Wild Knights.

Missing several key players still on All Blacks-mandated rest, the visitors struggled against the star-studded Knights, conceding five tries and scoring just two at the Kamagaya Rugby Stadium.

The Chiefs had few answers and posed even fewer questions for the Wild Knights, who boasted the likes of former Chief Lachlan Boshier, Springboks stars Lodewyk de Jager and Damian de Allande, as well as Australian flier Marika Koroibete in their ranks.

Chiefs midfielder Quinn Tupaea.
Chiefs midfielder Quinn Tupaea. Photo credit: Getty Images

The hosts opened the scoring in the 15th minute and doubled it shortly afterwards, with cunning play from halfback Taiki Koyama, who on pounced on a loose ball at the base of the Chiefs ruck.

Trailing 14-0 at the break, the Chiefs finally broke their scoring drought with an opportunist try for first-five Josh Ioane in the 51st minute.

After a yellow card was shown to Reuben O'Neill for a dangerous cleanout at a ruck, the Wild Knights swiftly made the Chiefs pay, as Koroibete finished out wide to push their lead to 22-7.

Mark Abbott extended that advantage for the Wild Knights in the 74th minute to put the result beyond doubt.

Aidan Ross nabbed a consolation try, before Takuya Yamasawa rubbed salt into the New Zealanders' wounds with an intercept try with time expired.

The Chiefs will try to bounce back in their final fixture in Japan next weekend against Dane Coles' Kubota Spears Funabashi. 

Wild Knights 38 (Yamasawa, Abbott, Koroibete, Koyama, Sakate tries, Matsuda 4 conversions, penalty) Chiefs 14 (Ross, Ioane tries, Ioane conversion, Hohepa conversion)