Chiefs lose unbeaten record in Perth

By Peter White

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Chiefs vs Stormers Waikato Stadium Liam Messam
Chiefs vs Stormers Waikato Stadium Liam Messam

The Chiefs suffered their first loss of the Super Rugby campaign overnight when they went down 18-15 to a resurgent Western Force side in Perth.

Fresh from their win in Dunedin over the Highlanders last week, the Force proved just how hard they are to beat on their home ground with a thoroughly deserved victory.

The Chiefs lacked their usual composure with ball in hand, dropping way too much ball in the hot and humid conditions, and were unable to stop the Force's combative rolling maul that led to both tries scored by captain Matt Hodgson.

Only the deadly accurate boots of Aaron Cruden and Gareth Anscombe kept the Chiefs in the game with six penalties between them. The Chiefs were unable to score a try and rarely looked likely.

But this loss will not be overly concerning for the Chiefs coaching staff led by Dave Rennie, as in every campaign a slip-up like this has had the effect of galvanising the side to step up to the next level required to make the play-offs.

Certainly they will not be the only team to find nib Stadium in Perth one of the toughest venues to win at.

Bay of Plenty's Brodie Retallick and Sam Cane were stand-outs in the beaten Chiefs pack, with Cane playing the full 80 minutes in his first game back since damaging his knee and ankle at Rotorua's International Stadium in a pre-season match against the Blues.

The Chiefs now head to South Africa to play the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria next Sunday followed by the Cheetahs a week later in Bloemfontein.

Western Force 18 (Matt Hodgson 2 tries; Sia Ebersohn 2 pen, con) Chiefs: 15 ( Aaron Cruden 4 pen, Gareth Anscombe pen)

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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