This article originally appeared on stuff.co.nz and is reproduced with permission
Ollie Norris spared the Chiefs blushes, scoring a superb 80th-minute winning try against the Rebels in Melbourne on Sunday.
With his team at four points, the reserve prop won the ball around 10 yards from the hosts’ line and showed a sensational blend of speed, power and balance to force their way through and give the visitors some AAMI park a thrilling 33- 30 Super Rugby Pacific win.
The Chiefs looked set to be on the wrong end of a huge upset result, with the Rebels of course coming off that 71-28 at the hands of the Blues at Eden Park the weekend before, and coach Clayton McMillan had to ask what to do. make its mix and match selection strategy for the match.
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But in the end there were sighs of relief all around as young coward Norris picked no better time to score a first five-pointer, which in all its glory pushed the Chiefs back to fourth on the ladder, keeping them on track to host a home quarter-final.
Co-captain Brad Weber and Josh Ioane returned from injury and while they endured mixed times, Ioane came into his own later in the play, a big part of the visitors’ attack which ultimately succeeded five tries and made a key run just before Norris’ magic.
The Rebels dominated the early stages, but only had a 3-0 score to show in the quarter-turn, and eventually, with a ball at the other end, the Chiefs struck twice through Luke Jacobson and Chase Tiatia, who was late inclusion on the left wing for Etene Nanai-Seturo.
But just when it looked like the visitors were going to twist the knife on the stroke of half-time, with huge Rebel stalwart Pone Fa’amausili condemned for taking Josh Lord off the ball after his massive shot at Naitoa Ah Kuoi , Carter Gordon saved blushes from his side.
The No.10 Rebels snagged a pass from Ioane and went 70 yards for one of those 14-point swing tries, which meant the hosts were down just 12-10 at the break.
The Chiefs were unable to take advantage of their individual advantage, guilty of a few spills early in the second stanza, and in fact it was the shorthanded Rebels who struck, taking the lead when Ioane’s pass fell to the ground and Andrew Kellaway dived, the Wallabies winger got ahead and chased, and all of a sudden the Rebels were up 17-12.
Their advance, however, was short-lived. Just when the Chiefs seemed to be stalling, Ioane found a piece of brilliance as he cut through the middle, and a few phases later Samisoni Taukei’aho blasted a monstrous path, then shortly after the hour mark Narawa scored d a brilliant individual effort. , leaving the Rebels scattered everywhere as he danced to the line.
But at 26-17, the Chiefs called on the Rebels to come straight back, their backfield making an absolute mess of picking up a high kick from Carter Gordon, and instead it was Hodge who ran to recover and get himself. clear a path.
The full-back then hit over two penalties, and with Luke Jacobson yellow carded for high contact, the Chiefs must have come up with something special.
They most certainly did.
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