Chiefs run away with win over Stormers

03:44, Mar 15 2014
Aaron Cruden
Aaron Cruden barks out a play call during the Chiefs Super Rugby opener against the Crusaders.
Israel Dagg
Chiefs players Charlie Ngatai and Mils Muliaina attempt to bring down Israel Dagg.
Augustine Pulu and Tim Nanai-Williams
Chiefs players Augustine Pulu and Tim Nanai-Williams jump high for a high-ball against the Crusaders.
Robbie Fruean
Chiefs centre Robbie Fruean has a barnstroming game against his former Crusaders team.
Tawera Kerr-Barlow
Halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow runs onto Waikato Stadium to face the Highlanders.
Liam Messam
Liam Messam runs into the tackle of Highlanders hooker Liam Coltman.
Tim Nanai-Williams
Chiefs fullback Tim Nanai-Williams glides through a gap in the Highlanders defensive line.
Chiefs fans
Chiefs fans enjoyed a two-point victory against the Highlanders.
Michael Fitzgerald
Chiefs lock Michael Fitzgerald charges forward at the Highlanders.
Tawera Kerr-Barlow
Chiefs halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow sprints away from a scrum.
Gareth Anscombe
Gareth Anscombe cuts through the Stormers' defence late in the game.
Aaron Cruden and Jean de Villiers
Aaron Cruden brings down Stormers second-five Jean de Villiers.
James Lowe
Chiefs wing James Lowe confronts the Stormers defence.
Tom Marshall
Tom Marshall toes the ball on in the Chiefs' impressive win over the Stormers.
2014 Chiefs season
Caille Visagie and Dean Greyling of the Bulls tackle Tom Marshall of the Chiefs at Loftus Versfeld.
2014 Chiefs season
Prop Ben Tameifuna of the Chiefs tries in vain to keep the ball under control against the Bulls in Pretoria.
Ben Tameifuna
Chiefs halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow tries to make a break against the Bulls in South Africa.
2014 Chiefs season
Jacques Du Plessis of the Bulls crashes trough the Chiefs' defensive line.
Chiefs 2014 Season
Chiefs lock Brodie Retallick lines up Cheetahs hooker Adriaan Strauss for a hard tackle.
Chiefs 2014 season
Michael Fitzgerald makes a charge for the Chiefs against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
Chiefs 2014 season
Gareth Anscombe chases down a loose ball against the Cheetahs in South Africa.
Chiefs 2014 season
Chiefs halfback Augustine Pulu looks to offload after being grounded by the Melbourne Rebels' defence.
Chiefs 2014 season
Tom Marshall on the charge for the Chiefs against the Rebels in Hamilton.
Chiefs 2014 season
Chiefs prop Ben Tameifuna makes a charge against the Rebels at Waikato Stadium.
Chiefs 2014 season
Sam Cane in action against the Melbourne Rebels.
Chiefs 2014 season
Gareth Anscombe of the Chiefs looks for support in the tackle of Kieran Reid of the Crusaders.
Chiefs 2014 season
Tom Marshall of the Chiefs loses possession in the slippery conditions during the Chiefs and Crusaders match.
Chiefs 2014 season
Tom Marshall of the Chiefs takes a high ball under pressure from Johnny McNicholl of the Crusaders.
Chiefs 2014 season
Christian Lealiifano of the Brumbies is tackled during their match against the Chiefs.
Chiefs 2014 season
Tevita Koloamatangi of the Chiefs is tackled during their match against the Brumbies.
Chiefs 2014 season
Liam Messam of the Chiefs runs the ball during their match against the Brumbies.
Chiefs 2014 Season
Gareth Anscombe of the Chiefs scores a try in the tackle of Franco Mostert of the Lions.
Chiefs 2014 season
Tim Nanai-Williams of the Chiefs scores a try against the Lions in Hamilton.
Chiefs 2014 season
Chiefs prop Ben Tameifuna makes a charge at the Lions defence during their Super Rugby clash.
Chiefs 2014 season
Chiefs prop Jamie Mackintosh puts the head down to make some hard yards for his team against the Lions.
2014 Chiefs season
Fireworks go off at Yarrow Stadium ahead of the Chiefs' home clash with the Blues in New Plymouth.
2014 Chiefs season
Tom Marshall, centre, is congratulated by teammates after scoring a try for the Chiefs against the Blues in New Plymouth.
2014 Chiefs season
Chiefs fans delighted to get the chance to cheer their team on in New Plymouth.
2014 Chiefs season
Liam Messam, right, asks referee Mike Fraser to go to the TMO during the Chiefs' clash with the Blues.
Chiefs vs Waratahs
The Chiefs put the pressure on the Waratahs' Jacques Potgieter in New Plymouth.
Chiefs vs Waratahs
Kurtley Beale and Wycliff Palu take down Chiefs fullback Tom Marshall at Taranaki Stadium.
Conrad Smith
Hurricanes skipper Conrad Smith makes a pass during his side's clash with the Chiefs.
Tim Nanai-Williams
Tim Nanai-Williams is tackled by Dane Coles.
Brodie Retallick
Brodie Retallick runs it against the Hurricanes in Wellington.
Tawera Kerr-Barlow
Tawera Kerr-Barlow flicks a pass out during the Chiefs' clash with the Waratahs.
Aaron Cruden
Chiefs first-five Aaron Cruden attempts to sidestep a tackle during his side's clash with the Waratahs.
Tanerau Latimer
Tanerau Latimer of the Chiefs makes a break during his side's Super Rugby clash with the Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.
Bundee Aki
Bundee Aki of the Chiefs looks to take the high ball during his side's 29-25 loss to the Highlanders in Dunedin.
Tim Nanai-Williams
Tim Nanai-Williams scores a try for the Chiefs during their round 17 Super Rugby match against the Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.
Gareth Anscombe
Gareth Anscombe of Chiefs on the attack during his side's round 17 Super Rugby match against the Highlanders in Dunedin.
Asaeli Tikoirotuma
Asaeli Tikoirotuma from the Chiefs during his side's 24-16 win over the Hurricanes in Hamilton.
Hadleigh Parkes
Hadleigh Parkes from the Hurricanes celebrates a try during his side's Super Rugby clash against the Chiefs in Hamilton.
Ben Tameifuna
Ben Tameifuna of the Chiefs steps out of the tackles of Ardie Savea (left) and Jeffery Toomaga-Allen of the Hurricanes during his side's round 18 Super Rugby win in Hamilton.
Jeremy Thrush
Jeremy Thrush of the Hurricanes charges into Liam Messam of the Chiefs with the assistance of Ben Franks (left) during the round 18 clash between the two sides at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton.
Ardie Savea
Ardie Savea of the Hurricanes is tackled by Chiefs captain Aaron Cruden during the round 18 fixture at Waikato Stadium.
Brodie Retallick
Chiefs lock Brodie Retallick reaches for the ball.
Brodie Retallick
Halfback Tawera Kerr Barlow topples over in the Chiefs' round 19 Super Rugby game against the Blues.
Brodie Retallick
Chiefs first five Aaron Cruden barks orders at his team during their Super Rugby match against the Blues at Eden Park.
Brodie Retallick
Chiefs players Aaron Cruden and Tim Nanai-Williams share their joy at making it to the Super Rugby playoffs after beating the Blues at Eden Park.
Brodie Retallick
Good sportsmanship was on show after the Chiefs beat the Blues at Eden Park with Bundee Aki sharing a moment with Ma'a Nonu.
Bundee Aki
Bundee Aki runs into the Brumbies defence at GIO Stadium.
Pat McCabe
Brumbies second-five Pat McCabe is lifted off his feet in a Chiefs tackle.
Pauliasi Manu
Pauliasi Manu illustrates the Chiefs' disappointment at the final whistle.
Ben Tameifuna
Chiefs prop Ben Tameifuna on the charge.
Liam Messam
Liam Messam brings down Brumbies No 10 Christian Lealiifano.
Augustine Pulu
Augustine Pulu looks to break a Brumbies tackle.

At this early stage of the season it doesn't get much more emphatic.

Late strikes ruined a glossy finish but there were clear signs the Chiefs will, once again, set the benchmark this year. 

Extending their 2014 unbeaten run to three matches, the Chiefs produced a dominant 36-20 win over the Stormers in Hamilton.

Gareth Anscombe
EVASIVE: Gareth Anscombe steps through tacklers in the dying minutes of the Chiefs match against the Stormers.

While three New Zealand teams struggle through the gears and one stagnates in neutral, the Chiefs reminded everyone of their attacking prowess and immense depth.

It wasn't perfect - wayward passes, blown chances and ill-discipline stunted momentum - but their hard-grafting forwards and fleet-footed backs simply blew away the tiring, one-dimensional tourists.

Fortune favours the adventurous.

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After wins over the Crusaders and Highlanders, this five-try bonus point victory is a rosy way to come back from the bye and start a nine-match run.

A trip to Perth next week, followed by the South African leg, is now much less daunting.

The 14,088 locals walked away knowing their team's pursuit of a third successive title is in good hands; the competition realised this outfit will take some beating.

Dave Rennie will have concerns around centre Charlie Ngatai, who limped off in the 27th minute with a calf complaint, but Robbie Fruean wasn't a bad replacement. And All Blacks centurion Mills Muliana was in the stands in his dress shirt. 

The Chiefs will rightly toast Tanerau Latimer's 100th Super Rugby match. The humble Bay of Plenty veteran deserves every accolade and fittingly got to celebrate by scoring the final try.

But it was the Tasman lads who stole the show and spoiled the evening for Springboks captain Jean de Villiers, who also brought up his century.

In their first starts, rookie No.8 Liam Squire and wing James Lowe were the latest to seem immediately comfortable at this level. That's not true of all inexperienced players, but it's sure a growing trend under the guidance of the coaching staff at the Chiefs.

Squire's physical presence, work-rate and offloading abilities were prominent while Lowe made the most of frequent space down the left-hand edge, scoring the opening try after Tasman team-mate Tom Marshall re-gathered a grubber from the back of his boot. It was freakish stuff.

It goes to show how distant Super Rugby has become from provincial boundaries, when two blokes from Nelson run rampant for a Hamilton-based franchise. But also further highlights the nous behind the Chiefs recruitment. 

With Aaron Cruden taking the ball flat and putting the Stormers on the backfoot, the Chiefs constantly stretched the visitor's defence.

Last week, the Crusaders found the South African's systems near unbreakable. The Chiefs had no such trouble. Their fast paced high-tempo game had the limited Africans falling off countless tackles. In the first half Dave Rennie's men turned down three shots at goal. Quick taps and lethal counter attack from the back-three were the favoured, successful approach.

A one-two punch - tries before and after half-time to Marshall and Tawera Kerr-Barlow - delivered the Stormers the knockout blow. Tim Nanai-Williams set-up his halfback and was hungry for work throughout. 

The Stormers stuck late through wing Gio Aplon and replacement Nizaam Carr but the fightback was futile, with Latimer and openside Tevita Koloamatangi delivering the exclamation mark.

It's now a long trip back to Cape Town for the Stormers. They won't look forward to stops in Canberra and Brisbane. 

Chiefs 36 (James Lowe, Tom Marshall, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Tevita Koloamatangi, Tanerau Latimer tries 2 Aaron Cruden pen, con 4) Stormers (Gio Aplon, Nizaam Carr tries Demetri Catrakilis pen 2, Peter Grant con 2)

 

 

 

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