Chiefs 53 Force 10

It's a measure of the Chiefs' menace that they looked equally dangerous both with and without the ball against the Force.

The best attack in Super Rugby blew away yet another defence in Hamilton tonight, lying in wait before striking with speed and skill to seize a bonus-point victory.

It was hard to judge the pick of the Chiefs' nine tries and similarly difficult to assess the most influential contributor. While Charlie Ngatai equalled a Super Rugby record with four tries, almost every Chief showed an adroitness with ball in hand that always kept them a step ahead of the opposition.

And they did it two ways. In the first half, forced to do plenty of tackling, the Chiefs always appeared poised to puncture the visitors' defence. Three of the their first four tries came courtesy of rapid breaks from turnover ball, turning defence into attack in unstoppable fashion.


And in the second half, building pressure through phase-play and recycling rapidly, the Chiefs' played with a pace that was equally impossible for the Force to counter.

"Our carry and the quality of our clean got better as the game wore on so we were able to generate quicker ball," said coach Dave Rennie. "The second half was pretty impressive, we played at a tempo and looked after the ball a lot better."

Indeed, the Chiefs' high-risk, high-reward approach reaped a bit of both in the first half, though the latter certainly outweighed the former. While it could occasionally cost them, their effectiveness when working in confined spaces rendered irrelevant the occasional ill-advised pass.

A brilliant raid down the left sideline for Damian McKenzie's first try was a worrying harbinger for what was awaiting the Force, with the home side taking turns to commit tacklers and pop their passes at the last possible moment.

Those passes could often appeared puzzling in the instant they left the hand but, in the blink of an eye, a teammate would appear on cue to continue the inexorable march downfield. And it wasn't just the outside backs who treated the ball as if they had developed a sudden allergy, with Hika Elliot's fast hands leading to Ngatai's first try.

By the time the carnage was complete, the second-five's haul had illustrated just why he must be considered the front-runner to claim the All Blacks' vacant No 12 jersey. Not only did Ngatai display a capability to both start and finish a break, he kicked with good awareness to regularly turn around the Force.

He wasn't alone in that regard and, with the defence and the set piece remaining solid all evening, the Chiefs were more than willing to put boot to ball. Especially since they knew that, when the Force eventually coughed up possession, the opportunity to make their opponents pay would rarely be squandered.

There was certainly no sign of all the travel the Chiefs endured over the last month, nor an injury list that extended to an even dozen. The New Zealand conference leaders allowed for no excuses and that approach would continue ahead of a clash with their Australian counterparts.

"It was a really good performance and we were stoked" Rennie said. "But we're not going to get too carried away - we've got a big task next week in Canberra."

Chiefs 53 (D. McKenzie 2, M. Leitch, C. Ngatai 4, T. Pulu, J. Lowe tries; D. McKenzie 3 cons, S. Donald con)
Force 10 (B, Tapuai try; P. Grant pen, con)
HT: 12-10