Wales were handed a 40-7 thumping earlier today, leading to questions over the merit of such a fixture in the middle of a very tough three-Test series against the world champions. The Chiefs weren’t full strength on paper, but there was a top performance by Stephen Donald.
The Chiefs got out to a 21-0 lead at one stage as a second string Wales, who had Sam Warburton starting for them, couldn’t contend with the former Super Rugby champions, who themselves were missing eight players to the All Blacks, some U20 players and had up to ten players out with injury.
“It was a pretty special performance,” said coach Dave Rennie. “I think our leadership group, led by Beaver (Donald), did a really good job of creating a hell of a lot of excitement.
“There was an opportunity to get an international scalp and we knew it was going to be watched by massive numbers around the world. So we’re just really proud.”
The Chiefs, who scored six tries to one, were captained by Donald in his 88th match for them. In terms fo stats, it was only the third time that a Super Rugby team has played a touring international team.
So the fixture was something new, which obviously called for a change in tradition and for the first time in their 20-year history, the Chiefs performed a prematch Haka. We’ve seen it when they’ve won the Super Rugby competition in 2012 and 2013, but never prematch before.
Donald left the field to a standing ovation after 70 minutes, saying that he just couldn’t stay out there. “It’s been about two years since I had to play 80 minutes and my little calves couldn’t get me the distance.
“We seemed to defend for 80 per cent of the game but this group of battlers did well tonight. We were excited as hell about this match. The Welsh are a good team and we thought, ‘Hell, we’re just going to rip into them,’ and hopefully that will be enough.”
Match highlights below, then the first ever Chiefs prematch Haka below that