Chiefs Manawa book top spot in Aupiki semis with win over Matatū

Sat, Mar 11
Hazel Tubic runs at the Matatū defence.

Chiefs Manawa have fended off a late challenge from Matatū to guarantee themselves top spot heading into next weekend's Super Rugby Aupiki semi-finals.

Chiefs Manawa beat the southerners 46-38 in Hamilton this afternoon in a try-scoring frenzy as Matatū made them work for No.1 seed in perfect playing conditions.

Matatū jumped out to a 19-8 lead off three early tries; Wing Cheyelle Robins-Reti opened the account after just two minutes, set up by an Amy du Plessis offload.

First-five Rosie Kelly then turned on the afterburners for the second try before Grace Steinmetz bolted 40m for her own five-pointer.

Despite the early deficit, Chiefs Manawa’s ever-reliable forward pack began to make an impact on the match and with it came four unanswered tries and a 34-19 lead at halftime.

Chiefs Manawa wing Georgia Daals continued her impressive 2023 season with two more tries this afternoon; the second coming just three minutes after the break.

With Grace Houpapa-Barrett crossing soon after, it looked as though Matatū were done for but the southerners showed their resolve to score 19 unanswered points in response.

While it wasn’t enough to topple the undefeated reigning champions, its sends a warning to the Blues and Hurricanes Poua that whoever plays them next week will need to be switched on for 80 minutes.

Those two sides played in the second match of the day this afternoon with the Blues pulling off a comeback win over Hurricanes Poua 31-22 to give the Aucklanders their first win of the season.

Chiefs Manawa 46 (Georgia Daals 2, Mererangi Paul, Luka Connor, Kennedy Simon, Tynealle Fitzgerald, Grace Houpapa-Barrett tries; Hazel Tubic 3 con, pen, Tenika Willison con)

Matatū 38 (Cheyelle Robins-Reti, Rosie Kelly, Grace Steinmetz, Natalie Delamere, Lucy Jenkins, Grace Brooker tries; Renée Holmes 4 con)

HT: 34-19 Manawa


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