Chris Rattue

Chris Rattue is a sports columnist for the New Zealand Herald.

First Take: Chiefs chewed up and spat out

Tim Nanai-Williams of the Chiefs looks to offload under pressure from Victor Vito (L) and Jeremy Thrush of the Hurricane. Photo / Getty.
Tim Nanai-Williams of the Chiefs looks to offload under pressure from Victor Vito (L) and Jeremy Thrush of the Hurricane. Photo / Getty.

Hurricanes 45
Chiefs 8

The Chiefs have gone from overachievers to underachievers.

If Sonny Bill Williams reclaims his best rugby form, he can't arrive soon enough at the Hamilton-based side.

Read: Rampant Hurricanes thrash Chiefs

These Chiefs won't get close to winning a third consecutive title on what we saw against the Hurricanes. The crown is gone.

They were chewed up and spat out by Mark Hammett's swirling Hurricanes who recalled days past of madcap bids for glory.

Even the return of Aaron Cruden won't be enough to stir the champs. The Chiefs have lived in the leading pack but something has gone wrong. The mojo is missing.

When they attacked towards the corner with a comeback still on, Tim Nanai-Williams put in a useless grubber kick which let the Hurricanes break free.

Previously in the Dave Rennie era, that would have turned into something.

They have missed Sona Taumalolo's rampant spirit and Craig Clarke's driving captaincy. But other rugby intangibles are harder to explain.

They've had injuries, but that doesn't fully account for the struggles because the parts are better than the sum of what occurred in this latest game. Way better. Braveheart flanker Tanerau Latimer has acknowledged that things haven't been quite right all year.
There is a fine line between success and so-called failure in the Super 15, and the Chiefs are treading on the wrong side.

Nothing lasts forever. Consecutive titles represented an amazing effort. This game wasn't supposed to be make or break - but the Chiefs look broke.

- NZ Herald

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