Super Rugby Pacific: Chiefs dominate Queensland Reds in Hamilton to book semi-final berth

A near-perfect first half has seen the Chiefs roll past the Queensland Reds 43-21 in Hamilton and become the first side to book a spot in the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific semi-finals.   

The Chiefs scored 31 unanswered points in the first 40 minutes to all but put away the game at the break. The result sends the Chiefs through to the ninth Super Rugby semi-final in club history where they will face the winner of Hurricanes v Melbourne Rebels in Wellington on Saturday.  

The Chiefs controlled much of the early possession, slowly building phases inside the Reds' half to begin the contest. That ball control led to the first penalty of the game, with the Chiefs opting to kick for the corner despite it being well within Damian McKenzie's range.   

That risk paid off. After winning their lineout they built several more phases before Samisoni Taukei'aho bulldozed his way through multiple Reds' defenders to score the opening try of the match.   

With the Reds struggling to build any momentum it was only a matter of minutes before the home side extended their lead. Rameka Poihipi sliced up the field for 30 meters before working the ball back on the inside to Emoni Narawa who slipped through one tackle to finish off a well-worked team try.   

Emoni Narawa runs home a try.
Emoni Narawa runs home a try. Photo credit: Getty Images

More Narawa magic was on the way moments later. With the Chiefs rolling down the pitch the winger somehow flicked an offload back in-field just before being tackled out of play. The pass found Taukei'aho who ran in for his second to extend the Chiefs' lead to 21 points just 16 minutes in.   

Reds' hooker Matt Faessler was denied what he thought was his sides first try midway through the opening half after the TMO determined he had propelled himself forward over the line.   

The Chiefs didn't have the same problem. A wonderfully timed McKenzie chip put Shaun Stevenson through a hole with the fullback then chipping again towards the corner. The kick sat up perfectly for Etene Nanai-Seturo who burst over in the corner for a sensational try.    

A McKenzie penalty sent the home side into the halftime break with a massive 31-0 lead.    

The Reds finally got on the scoreboard three minutes into the second half through halfback Tate McDermott who snuck into the left corner after multiple phases inside the Chiefs 22.  

Both sides then traded five-pointers, the Chiefs through All Black Anton Lienert-Brown while McDermott grabbed his second for the Reds.   

The Chiefs surpassed 40 points when reserve hooker Bradley Slater scored his sides sixth try off a lineout drive after Reds' midfielder Hunter Paisami was shown a yellow card for an intentional knockdown.   

A late consolation try for the Reds was not enough to dampen the spirits of the home side and their fans, as the Chiefs celebrated a dominant win at home and place in the final four.   

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