Chiefs, Canes and Landers finish pre-season with wins

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After two solid wins in pre-season games against Moana Pasifika last week and the Blues in Pukekohe on Friday, Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan was staying grounded ahead of the opening of DHL Super Rugby Pacific next week.
The Chiefs had a 47-33 win, coming back from a disappointing first third in the game of three 30-minute spells.
“That first 30 was pretty dusty - 30 per cent possession, 30 per cent territory. You can’t survive against quality teams with those numbers. 
“Our set piece was a bit dusty, and that’s an area we pride ourselves on.
“But we scored some nice tries, and, at times, some of the stuff we’ve been working on round our phase play and carry-clean game looked quite good.”
The Blues played their more experienced group in the first third and part of the second. When several of the All Blacks were replaced, the Blues led 19-14.
Assistant coach Dan Halangahu said: “It was all about combinations for us, and we got some good combinations going early on. They put a lot of pressure on us in that second and third period, so there’s a fair bit of work for us to do as well.”
Chiefs 47 (Peniasi Malimali, Simon Parker, Samison Taukei’aho 2, Shaun Stevenson 2, Etene Nanai-Seturo tries; Bryn Gatland con; Josh Ioane con; Damian McKenzie 3 con) Blues 33 (Caleb Clarke, Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens, Finlay Christie, Soane Vikena, Zarn Sullivan tries; Stephen Perofeta 2 con; Sullivan 2 con). 1/3: 7-12, 2/3: 35-26

Sam Gilbert did a ‘Jordie Barrett’ in Queenstown during the Highlanders’ 33-24 win over Moana Pasifika.
Gilbert started at fullback but moved to second five-eighths for the second half of the game.
Coach Clarke Dermody said the inside position was ‘a bit foreign’ for him, but he had handled it well.
“It’s an exciting year for him - it’s his third year with us, and he’s really come into it.”
Dermody was pleased to have Moana Pasifika as an opponent a week out from the start of Super Rugby because their first opponents, the Blues, play a similar style.
“They’re big ball runners and they like to offload, so we have to be right on around our defence for the week. That’ll be the main focus, and then just executing a bit more when we’re on attack,” he said.
Highlanders 33 (Jonah Lowe 2, Sam Gilbert, Shannon Frizell, Mitch Hunt tries; Sam Gilbert 4 con) Moana Pasifika 24 (William Havili, Danny Toala, Mahonri Ngakuru, Michael Curry tries; Christian Leali’ifano 2 con). HT: 21-5
Defending Super Rugby champion coach Scott Robertson wasn’t too concerned about being on the losing end, 26-31, against the Hurricanes in Levin.
They also lost their first pre-season game against the Highlanders.
He saw his side race to a 21-0 lead after an explosive 13 minutes to start the game. But he was happier with no injuries affecting the side as a result.
“The Hurricanes did a great job, took a couple of opportunities at the end, but it was a hell of a game, a great spectacle.”
Both sides used two different teams who played two different games with a lot of rotation.
Hurricanes coach Jason Holland was disappointed they didn’t take their opportunities in the first half, but there was an improvement in the second half.
“We were calm enough [then] to know when to finish, and had patience. There will be a good bit of learning there for us.”
Hurricanes 31 Du’Plessis Kirifi, Asafo Aumua, Matt Whaanga, Cam Roigard, Brayden Iose tries; Jordie Barrett con; Harry Godfrey 2 con) Crusaders 26 (Cullen Grace, Fergus Burke 2, Melani Nanai tries; Burke 3 con). HT: 7-21


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