Force 7 Chiefs 16

After the travails of recent weeks the Chiefs will be thrilled to head back to Hamilton - providing their in-flight entertainment features no footage of tonight's grisly win in Perth.

Dave Rennie's side earned a victory over the Force that must have left the coach with mixed emotions. Satisfied to end a three-match tour with two victories, especially given their first-up loss to the Stormers and last weekend's scare against the Cheetahs, but also frustrated at what was an extremely patchy performance.

The Chiefs fell well short of their high standards during the final leg of their road trip, playing with plenty of their usual menace but all too often missing the accuracy required to apply the final touch.

There were a multitude of offloads that didn't quite go to hand, a number of incorrect options taken at the wrong time and, as a result, an abundance of attacks that amounted to nothing.


On another night, when the passes were sticking, it could have been a typically electric effort filled with typically outstanding tries. As it was, the Chiefs managed to cross only once, when Aaron Cruden carved a hole through the opposition defence and Liam Messam finished the job.

The Force did deserve some credit for refusing to wilt in the face of what, especially in the first half, was occasionally on onslaught. And they did do enough to head to halftime with the scores level, courtesy of captain Matt Hodgson's try from a lineout drive.

But, in truth, they generally just had to wait for the Chiefs to prove their own undoing, with the home side's missed tackles rendered moot by the visitors' mistakes.

Some of them were glaring - like Siegfried Fisi'ihoi forgetting to take the ball with him as he crashed over the line late in the opening spell. Others were confounding - like Sam Cane over-hitting an ill-advised grubber to end one promising break.

But the majority of them were rudimentary, with the Chiefs regularly guilty of forcing their hand and failing to build pressure through phase play. And, to make matters worse, after undoubtedly hearing that message from their coach, they resumed after the break by finding new ways to contribute to their downfall.

It wasn't as if they were showing serious signs of fatigue after their trip to Africa. Damian McKenzie, elusive and energetic throughout the match, offered no shortage of evidence to refute that explanation. But even McKenzie was guilty of ending his raids with errors.

Soon the Chiefs were wisely opting to find a lead in multiples of three but, while it was effective, that approach did leave them vulnerable, especially considering they continued to squander any strong opportunities they created.

Yet, if the Chiefs were imprecise with ball in hand, they accounted for that fault with their obstinance when playing without it. The Force hardly boasted a penetrative attack coming into the contest but they were further blunted by a Chiefs team who have conceded the fewest tries in the competition and who were never truly threatened through much of the second spell.

Their defensive comfort left the Chiefs content with winning the game through Cruden's boot, content to take two victories from their road-trip and more than content with their favourable position on the table.

Force 7 (M. Hodgson try; I. Prior con)
Chiefs 16 (L. Messam try; A. Cruden con, 3 pens)
Halftime: 7-7