11 Jul 2016

Chiefs cement top spot in NZ conference

11:56 am on 11 July 2016

Centre Seta Tamanivalu and fullback Damian McKenzie scored two tries each as the Chiefs cemented their place at the top of the New Zealand Super Rugby conference with a 50-5 demolition of the Queensland Reds in Brisbane.

Damian McKenzie celebrates his try

Damian McKenzie celebrates his try Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Chiefs, who top the Australasian group, moved to 51 competition points with the victory, one behind South Africa's Lions (52) who retook top spot in the overall standings with a 57-21 win over the lowly Southern Kings in Johannesburg.

The Reds were reduced to 13 men for the final 10 minutes of the first half with scrumhalf Nick Frisby given a yellow card for kicking the ball out of Lachlan Boshier's hands while the Chiefs' flanker was reaching for the goal line.

Referee Nick Briant also awarded the visitors a penalty try.

Briant also issued another yellow card to Jack Tuttle less than a minute later when the Reds' fullback was penalised for a dangerous charge in the air on Chiefs' scrumhalf Tawera Kerr-Barlow.

Chiefs No.8 Sam Cane, and Tamanivalu who had opened the scoring in the second minute of the game, extended the visitors' lead to 33-5 with the two-man advantage.

Prop Atu Moli had also scored an earlier try following a sweeping movement, with McKenzie slotting four conversions as the visitors ran riot with numerous line breaks and their ability to put runners into space and pass out of tackles.

The match deteriorated in a sloppy second half before McKenzie finished off a nice line break from midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown in the 55th minute.

Chiefs hooker Nathan Harris then scored off an 80-metre counter-attack that was sparked by a Reds' turnover about 12 minutes later.

McKenzie completed the rout with his second try following a simple play from an attacking scrum as the Chiefs backs ran superb lines from depth that put players outside them into space.

The Chiefs' final match of the regular season is against the Otago Highlanders, who face the Jaguares in Buenos Aires on Saturday, before returning for the clash with the twice champions in Dunedin.