The Sunwolves pulled out a spectacular victory over the Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday. Leading 23-3 at half time after a dismal defensive effort by the Chiefs, the Sunwolves ended the match with an emphatic victory scoring three tries and winning the match 30-15.
This was definitely not the way the Chiefs intended to honour powerhouse Brodie Retallick in his 100th Super Rugby match for the franchise. The Sunwolves after four years in Super Rugby recorded their first away victory in the competition and the victory must be that much sweeter knowing they did it on New Zealand shores.
When the second half kicked off the Chiefs came out firing with some magic from Damian Mckenzie setting up the Chiefs first try of the game, the reasonable man would have believed that the status quo would be maintained from thereon out.
After the thumping the Chiefs received at the hands of the Brumbies just one week earlier (54-17) you’d expect to see some improvement, especially against one of the weakest Super Rugby sides. Alas, the Chiefs showed up with another error strewn performance. With a defense, less organized than a freshly boiled bowl of spaghetti, and a blunt attack, the Sunwolves made a meal of it.
The simple game plan employed by the Sunwolves was effective in creating space and simple hands and some hard running was all that was needed to secure this victory. The Chiefs pillar defense in particular gave the Sunwolves far too much time to dictate play and space to execute in.
The All Blacks in this team will be scratching their heads at how such a loss occurred and a visibly despondent Brodie Retallick, subbed at half time, further illustrates their predicament. For most parts it was as if the Chiefs were waiting for Damian Mckenzie to ignite the team and simply hoping to fall in line with what he was doing.
This looks like it’s going to be a long season for the boys from Hamilton and their tournament only gets more difficult next week as they face the Crusaders away. Whilst the Sunwolves will be celebrating this victory, they will now definitely be eyeing a second win against the struggling Blues next weekend.
One thing is for certain, the deafening howl of the Sunwolves will haunt the Chiefs of 2019 for a long time to come.
Written by: Nicholas Halsey
Image credit: Sport24