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Super Rugby: Defending champions the Chiefs see off the Stormers
The Chiefs recorded their third successive win of the Super Rugby season after an all-action 36-20 victory against the Stormers.
The defending champions ran the Stormers off the park at the Waikato Stadium, with the Chiefs attacking from everywhere and showing a willingness to keep the ball alive.
And they were rewarded with tries from James Lowe, Tom Marshall, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Tevita Koloamatangi and Tanerau Latimer – with the normally watertight Stormers defence breached at will.
The Stormers, who had lacked a cutting edge to trouble the Chiefs in the first half, did threaten a late comeback with tries from Gio Aplon and Nizaam Carr but it was too little, too late.
Demetri Catrakilis and Aaron Cruden had swapped penalties during the opening exchanges, before the Chiefs scored the opening try in somewhat fortuitous circumstances.
Marshall grubber-kicked the ball through the Stormers rush defence and then got to the ball ahead of Kobus Van Wyk ball courtesy of a favourable bounce, with the centre releasing Lowe to score on his first start. Cruden converted.
Catrakilis cut the deficit with a penalty before missing a routine-looking opportunity to make it 10-9.
And the Chiefs made them pay as they entered the break 17-6 ahead with a try after the half-time hooter.
Again the hosts got the rub of the green as Marshall attempted to offload only for Van Wyk to knock the ball loose. Marshall reacted the quickest to loose ball to score, with the TMO confirming the Chiefs No 12 had not knocked the ball on. Cruden added the extras.
And the Chiefs must have felt they were home and dry when they crossed for their third try of the match just two minutes after the interval.
Tim Nanai-Williams scooted through a half-gap in 22 before offloading to the lively Kerr-Barlow. Cruden slotted over the conversion.
The Stormers finally hit back through Aplon, though, with the winger fending off two tackles before accelerating clear to hand Peter Grant a simple conversion.
And when Carr powered his way over and Grant converted the lead was just four points with five minutes left.
The Chiefs, though, responded in impressive fashion as Koloamatangi crashed through three tackles and managed to ground the ball to seal the bonus point. Cruden’s conversion made it 31-20.
And it got worse for Stormers as Latimer celebrated his 100th appearance with a try from a rolling maul.