Written by Max Sharp.
After a controversial loss to the Reds in 2021, the Chiefs were desperate to get themselves a win in order to remain on track to gain a home-based quarter-final. There were many similarities in this game compared to its predecessor from nearly one year ago, from the tight scoreline, to even a red card to a Chiefs player. The Chiefs hung on to their lead in the final 10 minutes and managed to scrape through with a 27-25 victory, this made the game very exciting for the 12,000 viewers at Suncorp Stadium. We'll read through performances of the players from 1 through to 23 and decide who did well in the Chiefs' 2-point win.
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Chiefs Player Ratings
Loosehead Prop - Aidan Ross (8/10)
For the second week in a row, Ross played a very long game. He ran 10 metres; many post-contact, off 7 carries, made 1 pass, 3 turnovers and completed 6/6 tackles, while winning every scrum off his own feed. Ross is taking no prisoners on his mission to get a test debut.
Hooker - Samisoni Taukei'aho (9/10)
The Chiefs' Player of the Match. Taukei'aho's running game was solid; 33 metres and 2 defenders beaten as well as a clean break on the way to score his try, off 9 carries. 7 solid tackles and a 100% lineout rate were other features of his prominent performance.
Tighthead Prop - Angus Ta'avao (6/10)
The 20-test All Black failed to generate any front-foot ball at rucks, or run metres off his 4 carries. On the other hand, Ta'avao made 9 strong tackles, 5 passes and scrummaged very well. Believe it or not, he also lasted for 73 minutes, which is impressive for a number 3.
Lock 4 - Josh Lord (6/10)
Mainly used as an athletic jumper in the Chiefs' 13 lineouts, that were all won, Lord also displayed some of his running game. Though he made just 3 carries, these included 22 metres and 1 clean break. Delivered 5 passes and 2 offloads, but was outmuscled in the rucks by the Reds' tight-five. Made just 5 tackles as well.
Lock 5 - Tupou Vaa'i (7/10)
Vaa'i begins to get tougher, he was used as a battering ram that ran 19 metres and beat 1 defender off 12 carries. Competed harder at rucks than his teammates, while nailing attackers with his 12 tackles. Passed 6 times and offloaded once; will be a complete player once his turnover technique becomes world-class.
Blindside Flanker - Luke Jacobson (7/10)
Stepping in as captain for the injured Brad Weber, Jacobson demonstrated strong leadership. His single carry was powerful; was a 7-metre run. Jacobson proved the "concrete shoulders" statement correct too, with 2 turnovers and a team-high 13 tackles.
Openside Flanker - Kaylum Boshier (5/10)
He managed to run 19 metres off 6 carries and make 8 passes as well as 1 offload. Boshier was not a threat at the breakdown though, he failed to contest for the ball or slow the Reds' quick ball down. Bought off for Brown, a more experienced player, after 53 minutes.
Number 8 - Pita Gus Sowakula (7/10)
Sowakula's performance was improved a lot when Boshier came off, the Reds' defence scrambled to take him down in his team-high 13 carries, which amounted to the winning try and 30 metres. Made 6 passes, 1 offload, but 6 tackles from 65 minutes may not be quite enough to get him to the black jersey.
Halfback - Cortez Ratima (6/10)
A shaky start included kicking away possession inside the opposition half, Ratima recovered to have an okay performance though. Went for 5 carries himself, running 12 metres, while he beat 2 defenders and made a clean break as he scored a try. His passing became much faster throughout the game, which was desperately needed. 5/7 tackles too.
First-Five - Bryn Gatland (9/10)
The leader of the backline's 5-minute absence for stitches saw the Chiefs look disorganised, the minute Gatland returned, they improved. Incredible defence with 8 tackles and 3 turnovers, 5/5 goals and 27 successful skip-passes amounted to an immense game.
Left Wing - Quinn Tupaea (8/10)
Aside from a missed tackle on Tate McDermott in the lead up to Josh Flook's try, Tupaea played well. 112 metres was a game-high, so was his 4 defenders beaten, this was off 11 carries. Managed to still provide 3 passes and 1 offload as well. Try-saving tackle on Fraser McReight proved that just 2 tackles and 1 turnover in a game can still be effective!
Second-Five - Rameka Poihipi (5/10)
Not the performance that Poihipi would have been looking for. The crash-ball running tactic wasn't overly effective, Poihipi's 18 metres and 1 defender beaten were off 8 carries. 5 passes isn't a lot for a 12, though he completed all 5 of his tackles.
Centre - Alex Nankivell (8/10)
Nankivell had some dodgy ball-handling at times, but did deliver 7 good passes and 2 offloads. His running stats were strong; 68 metres, 1 defender beaten and 1 clean break off 9 carries is pretty good, as was his 2 turnovers. Made just 3 tackles due to the team's territory rate.
Right Wing - Jonah Lowe (6/10)
Stepped up to take many high balls for Tupaea, though he also made just 3 tackles; the Chiefs' possession was 56%. Though not as effective on attack as last week, Lowe enabled those inside him with 7 passes and 2 offloads, running 47 metres and beating 3 defenders too.
Fullback - Chase Tiatia (5/10)
Tiatia's defence left much to be desired, he made just 1 tackle and an attempt on Josh Flook lead directly to a try. Running game was good however, 104 metres, 4 defenders beaten and 1 clean break off 10 carries. Safe to say that Tiatia had a very mixed game against the Reds.
Reserve Hooker - Bradley Slater (7/10)
22 minutes off the bench from Slater saw the lineout finish at a 100% win rate. He also bought incredible defence off the bench, making a massive 8 tackles in a very small amount of time indeed. Slater also made 2 passes, nice work.
Reserve Loosehead Prop - Atu Moli (No rating)
Didn't get enough time off the bench to be rated, he came on for Ta'avao with 4 minutes left, though he was wearing jersey number 17. Made just 4 tackles.
Reserve Tighthead Prop - George Dyer (6/10)
Dyer replaced Aidan Ross; this saw Ta'avao move to loosehead prop. The Chiefs' scrum remained stable, while Dyer also made 7 tackles and 1 turnover off the bench. With Reuben O'Neill yet to play this season due to injury, Dyer may have a full contract next year.
Reserve Lock - Naitoa Ah Kuoi (No rating)
Ah Kuoi played for 27 minutes off the bench, coming on for Lord, but didn't have enough involvement with the game to get a genuine rating; having made just 1 pass and 4 tackles.
Reserve Loose Forward - Samipeni Finau (1/10)
It was disappointing to see Finau play just 10 minutes of rugby against the Reds, he came on for Sowakula and had made just 1 carry and 4 tackles before receiving a red card for a shoulder charge in the 75th minute. Finau's human; he'll learn from this.
Reserve Utility Forward - Mitchell Brown (7/10)
Though he came on to play blindside flanker, Brown wore jersey 21. He managed to slow the Reds' ruck ball a fair bit, while also making 4 tackles, 1 turnover and featuring in a few lineouts. Just 1 carry and 1 pass, but Brown was a case of stats not telling the whole story.
Reserve Halfback - Xavier Roe (5/10)
On for Ratima with 19 minutes left. Roe didn't really focus on any attack himself, he was confined to 12 slow passes, having been targeted by the Reds' forwards. Made up for this by making 3 tackles and a last-minute turnover which allowed him to kick the ball to touch.
Reserve Utility Back - Rivez Reihana (No rating)
Reihana, wearing jersey 23, played just 5 minutes while Gatland was getting stitches to his face. Reihana touched the ball only once; kicking the ball to touch before Gatland returned. Reihana did not return to the field, so won't be rated.