All Blacks centre Anton Lienert-Brown finished off a lovely team score as the Chiefs ran out 43-19 winners over Western Force in Perth on Saturday.
Lienert-Brown’s crossing was his team’s second of the night and it was a work of art as the outstanding Shaun Stevenson sparked an end-to-end score.
It was the full-back’s break over halfway that led to hooker Tyrone Thompson being brought to ground and from recycled ball came another class act.
Impressive fly-half Rameka Poihipi spotted his veteran centre’s arm up in the air and duly found him on the left sideline with a one-bounce cross-kick.
Lienert-Brown finished with ease and was quick to appreciate his fly-half’s vision as the much-changed Chiefs started the match in ominous fashion.
Poihipi could not add the difficult extras but did land his first attempt of the fixture, after lock Laghlan McWhannell galloped over on eight minutes.
The Chiefs were flying early on but were helped somewhat when Liam Coombes-Fabling was gifted a try after intercepting Hamish Stewart’s risky pass.
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Western Force, who needed a win to qualify for the Super Rugby Pacific knockouts, did manage to score on 29 minutes when Carlo Tizzano barged over.
But that was as good as things got for the home side in the first period as Samipeni Finau scored the Chiefs’ fourth try before a penalty kick made it 29-7.
The Chiefs picked up a fifth try in the 48th minute thanks to good work from Lienert-Brown and Stevenson setting up scrum-half Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi.
Tim Anstee did give the Force fans something to cheer on 56 minutes when he was quickest to Max Burey’s clever grubber kick through to make it 36-14.
There would be one further try apiece as Pita Gus Sowakula crossed from the back of a scrum for the Chiefs before Burey grabbed a solo try for the Force.
The table-topping Chiefs will now head home to Hamilton to prepare for their quarter-final game against the Reds, which takes place next Saturday.
Video credit: Super Rugby Pacific
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