RICHARD FERGUSON reports that the Chiefs recorded a bonus point win over the Highlanders in a highly entertaining encounter to start the season.
The Chiefs won 41 – 27 after leading at 16 – 14 at half time.
This first half produced three amazing tries, the Highlanders first off the mark with a fantastic effort from Ben Smith. Tim Nanai-Williams returned the favour, yet another spectacular try, while Gareth Anscombe produced a wonderful kicking display, scoring 21 points and keeping the scoreboard ticking.
The second half started well for the Hihglanders, who looked to get away from the Chiefs by scoring early through Kade Poki and adding a few penalties, but the Chiefs hit back and continued to score tries, with a break-away try from Nanai-Williams seemingly breaking the hearts of the Highlanders.
Gareth Anscombe produced a match winning kicking performance on debut for the Chiefs, playing at full back and kicking in place of Aaron Cruden, who is said to have a groin strain and did not want to risk injury by taking the goal kicking duties.
The scoreboard might reflect a somewhat one sided match, but that was certainly not the case, as both teams produced amazing rugby in a week where one would expect errors, penalties and sloppy play. Both teams ran at the opposition with intent and the amount of tries scored is an indication of the type of game this was.
Neither team’s defence was spectacular, but it is this type of running, entertaining rugby that the supporters want to see, and if this match is any indication of what we can expect from Super Rugby 2013, it is going to be an amazing year.