The Chiefs scored a 24-3 win against the Reds in Brisbane to book their place in the play-offs. JON CARDINELLI reports.
While the Chiefs fell short of claiming the fourth try and the bonus point, they will cherish this result and performance. They have done enough to qualify for the knockout stage of the tournament, and will go into the do-or-die games with momentum.
The Chiefs owe this result to their impressive defence and kicking game. They not only kept the Reds tryless, but created many point-scoring chances of their own via breakdown turnovers.
While they were dominant at the tackle, they weren't always accurate. After a series of cynical breakdown infringements, the referee Mike Fraser eventually sent No 8 Michael Leitch to the sin bin.
At that point, the Chiefs were 14-3 ahead after 39 minutes. The Reds should have used their numerical advantage to punish the Chiefs and reduce the deficit. Incredibly, the 14-man Chiefs repelled wave after wave of Reds attack, and survived the period of sanction without conceding a point.
The visitors continued to dominate the collisions in the third quarter, but their finishing let them down. They crossed the tryline for the third time in the 70th minute after winning a lineout against the throw.
In the 81st minute, the Chiefs had a great opportunity to claim that fourth try. Charlie Ngatai raced away from the Reds defence and dotted the ball under the posts.
However, the TMO subsequently confirmed that a Reds defender had been held back illegally in the buildup, and so the Chiefs' try was disallowed.
Reds – Penalty: Quade Cooper.
Chiefs – Tries: Bryce Heem, Liam Messam, Charlie Ngatai. Conversions: Andrew Horell (3). Penalty: Horrell.
Reds – 15 James O’Connor, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Karmichael Hunt, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Lachie Turner, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 James Horwill, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 James Hanson, 1 James Slipper (c).
Subs: 16 Saia Fainga’a, 17 Pettowa Paraka, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Ed O’Donoghue, 20 Beau Robinson, 21 Hendrik Tui, 22 Nick Frisby, 23 Ben Tapuai.
Chiefs – 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Andrew Horrell, 11 Tim Nanai-Williams, 10 Marty McKenzie, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Messam (c), 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Michael Fitzgerald, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Mitchell Graham.
Subs: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Jarrod Firth, 19 Matt Symons, 20 Maama Vaipulu, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown.
Photo: Glenn Hunt/Getty Images