Written by Max Sharp.
Some Blues fans were making very negative comments at the conclusion of this fixture, but let's be real, plenty of rugby fans would have enjoyed the close scoreline, with the result being decided into the 80th minute. The Chiefs may have been expected to win by a large margin, but the fact that the final score was a 33-30 win over the Rebels, made for a very exciting game. We'll do the usual and read through the players from jersey 1 through to 23 and see which Chiefs were the best performers in their side.
Chiefs Player Ratings
Loosehead Prop - Aidan Ross (7/10)
Didn't miss any of his 7 tackles and gave the Rebels a hard time in the scrum, the 2-point half time margin can be put down to the tight five holding on under immense ruck pressure. Ross' 2 carries saw him run 6 metres. This was a game in which he did the basics well.
Hooker - Samisoni Taukei'aho (8/10)
With Sowakula benched, Taukei'aho took on a heavy workload on attack. His team-high 14 carries were successful, including 1 try, 35 metres run and 4 defenders beaten. A few passes and 1 offload, hit all his lineouts, though he may not be happy with 7/10 tackle attempts.
Tighthead Prop - Angus Ta'avao (7/10)
Made only a single carry for 2 metres, delivered 2 passes and made 8 tackles, without missing any. Ta'avao could perhaps have got to rucks quicker, but pushed the Rebels' front row hard in the scrum - the Rebels' final scrum percentage was just 63%.
Lock 4 - Josh Lord (6/10)
Reliable in the lineout and made 6 passes, a fair few for a forward. Though Lord only made 3 carries, he did run 10 metres. Didn't miss any of his 6 tackles, but had a case of stats don't tell the whole story, being outplayed for sure in the rucks.
Lock 5 - Naitoa Ah Kuoi (8/10)
The 22-year-old had one of his best games in a genuine all-round display. 21 metres, 3 defenders beaten and 1 clean break were the running stats off Ah Kuoi's 8 carries, while he delivered 7 passes and 8 tackles. It was a real shame to see him taken off in the 57th minute.
Blindside Flanker - Samipeni Finau (5/10)
Finau had an okay performance but the team missed Sowakula's carrying. Finau's 7 carries were often pushed back; he only ran 10 metres, but did beat 1 defender. Could have done better than 5 tackles in 67 minutes as well. Appears to still be growing into Super Rugby.
Openside Flanker - Sam Cane (6/10)
17/19 tackles is nothing short of incredible, but the Chiefs badly needed some hard carrying. Cane didn't do so, with just 3 metres off 2 carries. 8 passes is nice, but the coaches definitely needed to start Sowakula; Cane couldn't offer the same strength with ball-in-hand.
Number 8 - Luke Jacobson (5/10)
Bought a hearty attitude as usual and got the team's opening try, 32 running metres and 2 defenders beaten off 10 carries. Was good to see Jacobson jump in the lineout a few times, but 5 tackles is pretty poor in 80 minutes. A bit of a mixed game for the number 8.
Halfback - Brad Weber (4/10)
Demonstrated a strong focus on running the game plan with his 69 passes but got given a very hard time when defending, with just 3/5 tackles. Just 1 carry too. Weber will be glad to be back from injury and even happier to return to form. Off after 64 minutes.
First-Five - Josh Ioane (9/10)
Pessimists seemed grumpy at the Rebels' intercepts but you can't blame Ioane for the opposition just simply doing a great job at analysis off-field. Had an excellent display on return from injury with a match-high 110 metres run, 6 defenders beaten and 2 clean breaks from 11 carries. Strong distribution game with 27 passes and 1 offload, which was used to open the floor for the winning try. Also managed to make 6/7 of his tackles.
Left Wing - Chase Tiatia (5/10)
Another mixed bag here. A late addition due to Etene Nanai-Seturo's withdrawal, Tiatia's kicking game was useful, poor defence though, just 1 tackle. Only got to make 5 carries, but did score 1 try, run 22 metres, beat 1 defender and make 1 clean break. Could have come off his wing more.
Second-Five - Quinn Tupaea (7/10)
Used as a battering ram on attack for 25 metres and 3 defenders beaten off 7 carries. Could have passed more than 6 times though, some different running lines would have assisted with Ioane's decoys though. 2 very good offloads and 10 tackles; the second-most of the team. Did well considering the coaches' lack of creativity around him.
Centre - Rameka Poihipi (5/10)
The coaches had a bit of a one-dimensional approach to using Poihipi too; he only made 4 carries. However, these did result in 31 metres and 2 defenders beaten. Could have made more than 3 passes and 7 tackles, wing is probably his best position.
Right Wing - Emoni Narawa (5/10)
Was out of his preferred position but still did well on attack. The Fijian ran 54 metres, beat 4 defenders and made 2 clean breaks off 10 carries. Passed back inside twice and made 1 offload but no tackle attempts? Really? Everyone has to play their part on defence.
Fullback - Kaleb Trask (4/10)
Diffused many high balls well and looked calm whilst place-kicking. Not the best attack and defence though. 24 metres and 3 defenders beaten from 4 carries and 1 tackle isn't too good, though his 6 passes and 1 offload was useful for other runners.
Reserve Hooker - Tyrone Thompson (3/10)
Won't be pleased with his 16-minute cameo off the bench. 3 tackles were the only statistics Thompson registered, while both of his lineout throws were in the Rebels' favour. Is still 21 years old, so will improve after going over what went wrong.
Reserve Loosehead Prop - Ollie Norris (9/10)
What a beast off the bench. Came on for Ross at the perfect time and did his part in the tight spaces. Could have done more than 4 tackles, but the attack, wow. Norris, 14 metres and 1 clean break were off 4 carries, whilst one of these carries saw him beat 4 defenders en route to scoring the winning try right next to the posts. Not bad for a first-ever Super Rugby try!
Reserve Tighthead Prop - Atu Moli (3/10)
A disappointing game for Moli too. Made just 2 metres and beat 1 defender off 3 carries, but collapsed in a scrum off the Chiefs' feed and didn't attempt any tackles. He's definitely a far better loosehead prop than a tighthead prop. Rest Ross and start Moli there next week.
Reserve Loose Forward - Pita Gus Sowakula (No rating)
Though he wore jersey 19, Sowakula was the backup 6 off the bench. Played just 13 minutes and made 1 pass and 1 tackle, so won't be rated due to a lack of involvement.
Reserve Lock - Mitchell Brown (No rating)
On for Ah Kuoi in the 57th minute despite wearing jersey 20 and didn't bring too much impact so won't be rated either.
Reserve Halfback - Xavier Roe (7/10)
Looked (unsurprisingly) more match-fit than Weber, who returned from injury. Made his 24 passes calmly to close the game out well, while having the confidence to make 4/4 tackles. The young 9 continues to impress as an impact player.
Reserve Utility Back - Rivez Reihana (6/10)
Almost matched Trask for metres and carries despite replacing Trask in the 64th minute. Ran hard from fullback with 24 metres and 1 defender beaten off 3 carries. Made just 1 pass, though his absence of tackle attempts can be put down to little game time.
Reserve Midfielder - Inga Finau (No rating)
Came on for Poihipi with just 3 minutes to go and used his single carry to run 5 metres. Not enough involvement to be rated.