James Mortimer 07.May.2012Getty Images
It was a solid of not unspectacular performance by the leading team in Investec Super Rugby for 2012, with the numerous predictions of cricket score not eventuating as the Lions played their part in an entertaining spectacle.
Indeed, the Johannesburg based franchise scored more tries against the Chiefs than any other team this season, meaning that Rennie’s troops have now conceded 12 for the campaign.
Still a remarkable figure and far beyond most teams, but their position as the premier defensive outfit in the competition has been ceded by the Stormers, with the bye taking South Africans letting in only nine so far.
John Mitchell’s Lions scored more tries and points than they had for seven weeks (matching the three tries they scored against the Hurricanes in Week Two).
However while Rennie might have wished for a more comprehensive performance, when the home team skipped out to a 20-0 lead after 27 minutes, there was not only little doubt as to the winner, but perhaps an unconscious switching off as the Chiefs looked ahead to their next opponent.
They will face the Reds in Brisbane.
Much can change in a couple of weeks, and the faltering campaign of the champions has been reversed with a maiden win at Eden Park and a very competitive performance against the Crusaders – where they kept the seven-time champions try-less at home for the first time in 12 years.
The last team to achieve this was the Brumbies.
The big positive for the Chiefs coming into the massive clash is that the likes of Liam Messam and Brodie Retallick were rested, while forwards Mahonri Schwalger and try scoring machine Sona Taumalolo played minimal rugby off the bench.
Richard Kahui took a head knock, but is expected to play in what could be a matchup between the two best defensive centres in Super Rugby, with Anthony Faingaa back on deck for the Queenslanders with a powerful performance against the Crusaders.