Friday 30 September 2016

Wales second string hammered by the Chiefs

CHIEFS 40 WALES 7

Published 14/06/2016 | 10:31

Eli Walker (L) of Wales is tackled short of the line by Waikato Chiefs player James Lowe (C) during the rugby union match between the Super Rugby team Waikato Chiefs and Wales at FMG Stadium in Hamilton
Eli Walker (L) of Wales is tackled short of the line by Waikato Chiefs player James Lowe (C) during the rugby union match between the Super Rugby team Waikato Chiefs and Wales at FMG Stadium in Hamilton

There was no happy homecoming for Warren Gatland in his home town of Hamilton as the local heroes from the Chiefs put his Welsh team to the sword in a 40-7 victory.

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The game was supposed to be a 'thank you' from Wales to the people of Hamilton for the support they showed them at the 2011 World Cup, but they were in no mood to show any more charity.

Their six tries the Super Rugby side scored took the Welsh tally conceded in three games this summer to 15.

The home side, who as Waikato had beaten Wales at the same venue in 1988, struck early as their captain, 2011 World Cup final matchwinner Stephen Donald, weaved his way through the Welsh defence after a line-out steal and offloaded to half-back partner Brad Weber, who ran 25 metres unopposed to the posts.

Donald added the conversion and Wales had received an early reminder that even with 20 players ruled out through international commitments and injury the home side were going to be highly competitive.

Wales recovered their poise and should have scored as they dominated the rest of the opening quarter.

Scrum half Gareth Davies got to within five metres, wing Eli Walker was hauled down inches short and then No 8 James King was scragged on the line and conceded a penalty.

Having ridden their luck, the Chiefs came back onto the offensive and they ended the half with a flourish as No 8 Tom Sanders drove over for a try at the posts and then lock Dom Bird crossed wide out.

Donald converted both and Wales were all at sea.

Things got better in the second half as the tourists kept the ball tighter and the introduction of Taulupe Faletau and Bradley Davies added extra impetus.

Eventually they were able to make their pressure tell as they drove replacement hooker Kristian Dacey over for a try after 56 minutes which Rhys Priestland converted.

That was the high point for Wales, who then conceded three more tries before the end to James Lowe, Toni Pulu and Sam McNicol.

Donald added a fourth conversion before leaving the field to a standing ovation and James Lowe knocked over the final conversion to make it a 33-point gap - Wales' biggest provincial defeat in New Zealand.

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