Wynne Gray

Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

First take: Huge hit fails to save Chiefs

Ben Tameifuna was on the charge against the Waratahs but it was in defence where he made his biggest impact. Photo / Getty
Ben Tameifuna was on the charge against the Waratahs but it was in defence where he made his biggest impact. Photo / Getty

Have the aftershocks stopped in New Plymouth?

Not the tremor of the Chiefs losing 33-17 to the Waratahs - that was always a chance with the defending champions battling a bit and the Tahs rocking into some strong form.

It was the boomfa moment around the 29 minute mark when seismologists in the area wondered why their sensitive equipment picked up some strong readings around Yarrow Stadium.

As the Tahs carted the ball up, captain Michael Hooper took a pass and was hit with tremendous legal force across the chest and ribs by Chiefs prop Ben Tameifuna.
Hooper managed to retain and recycle the ball possession and both players got to their feet then wobbled back into action.

It was the premium sample of the physical crunch throughout this game as the Waratahs brought the munching power which when harnessed properly, is a massive weapon for them. They have a huge pack and when they channel that aggression, their test-laden backline can prosper.

Bernard Foley, Kurtley Beale, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Israel Folau are men whose imaginative accuracy can unpick any defence and when they get a stack of ball, their inquiries sap the energy of defenders.

You wonder with all that talent how the Waratahs don't figure more in in the Wallabies plans.

Chiefs' coach Dave Rennie might have given a clue at halftime when he suggested the Tahs' fitness was a bit suspect. Maybe it was, so they wheeled on even bigger frames like Will Skelton and Sekope Kepu. Boomfa!

- NZ Herald

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