Sloppy Chiefs stumble in Sydney

A bumbling opening half has cost the Chiefs dearly falling to their second straight defeat after going down 20-25 to the Waratahs in Sydney overnight.

Trailing 15-0 at half time, the first time they have been held scoreless at the half this year, the Chiefs were forced to play catch up from the opening minute and were never a side of confidence.

In almost a splitting image from the opening few phases of last week’s game, the Chiefs were caught napping and found themselves down 8-0 early on, a deficit which proved almost too much to handle.

Although only one try separated the two sides, the Chiefs continue to lack intensity in the physicality stakes and were a shadow of their 2012-selves in the first 40 minutes.     

In what can only described as scrappy, the Chiefs bumbled and fumbled their way throughout the game, struggling to build any consistently or phases together. 

From the kick off the Waratahs opened up the Chiefs defence at will, led by fullback Israel Folau, with a number of offloads getting them across the advantage line.

A Waratahs set piece scrum saw Adam Ashley-Cooper saunter through a gaping hole between Brendon Leonard and Aaron Cruden before putting debutant winger Cam Crawford in to score, stunning the Chiefs.

This was soon followed by an inch perfect kick from Bernard Foley seeing Israel Folau use his league and AFL background to cross the line for his fourth of the season pushing it to 15-0.    

In what was the only attacking chance or spark from the visiting side in the first half, Lelia Masaga came close to finish off a sweeping move in the opening quarter, only to have his foot brush the whitewash.

Slowly waking from their slumber, the Chiefs were a much more energised and controlled side in the second half, but were thwarted by countless errors and sloppy play.

The Waratahs lost lock Sitaleki Timani to the sinbin early on after a reckless high tackle on replacement Tim Nanai-Williams, giving the Chiefs a much needed boost.

Notching their first points in the game at the 47th minute, when replacement fullback Gareth Anscombe crossed, the visiting side exploited the Waratahs around the fringes in a sustained period of play with the ball in hand.

Hitting the front with eight minutes to go through a Ben Tameifuna try putting the score at 20-18, the Chiefs were their own worst enemy going to sleep letting replacement hooker John Ulugia cross in the process and reclaim the lead with two minutes to play.  

Strong for the Chiefs were props Pauliasi Manu and Ben Tameifuna who carried the ball well throughout the match and held the scrum up against a feisty Waratahs pack.

The Chiefs now return home to prepare for the 2012 Super Rugby final rematch against the Sharks in Hamilton on Saturday night.  

Chiefs 20 (Gareth Anscombe, Ben Tameifuna tries; Gareth Anscombe cons 2, pens 2)
Waratahs 25 (Cam Crawford, Israel Folau, John Ulugia tries; Brendan McKibben pens 2, con 2)

Half time: 0-15

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