McKenzie shines in Chiefs dominance of Force

The Chiefs move one step closer to the playoffs after annihilating the Force 35-27 in Hamilton on Anzac weekend.

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The Chiefs dotted down for four tries in what turned out to be a close game.

It was positive intent all round in the early stages of the game before Marty McKenzie kicked his first points in Super Rugby to give the Chiefs an early lead.

The Force answered back immediately after the Chiefs were penalised for collapsing at the maul.

Backtracking on defense, the Chiefs were caught short on numbers and Angus Cottrell dotted over the line.

McKenzie kicked his second penalty to tighten the gap.

Moments later a brilliant break through the midfield saw Brad Weber in space.

With a lone defender in front, Weber passed off to Charlie Ngatai who sprinted away for one of the Chiefs best tries of the season.

The Force was dealt a major blow when foul play entered the match.

Force halfback Ian Prior was given a red card for lifting Tim Nani Williams without the ball and dropping him on his head.

Tim Nani Williams almost had the opportunity to inflict the perfect revenge when a unique set play saw him in space near the try line but a brilliant tackle but a Force defender kept him out.

On the stroke of halftime, Hika Elliot put the Chiefs into the ascendency when he powered his way under the posts off the back of a scrum to give the Chiefs their second try of the match.

The Chiefs went into halftime with a healthy 23-8 lead.

There was concern early in the second half for Brad Weber when he took a big hit from Force hooker Nathan Charles.

Weber played on in what appeared to be just a slight case of being winded.

The night went from bad to worse for the Force when they fall apart in the scrum, a deliberate act according to the referee, and a penalty try was awarded to the Chiefs to put the result almost beyond doubt.

Following the conversion, the Chiefs had the Force in a stranglehold 30-8.

Refusing to give up, Force winger Luke Morahan snapped the ball and had pace to get over the line for a much-needed try.

Luke Burton converted to half the gap 30-15.

Matt Hodgson continued the Force’s strong comeback when off the back of a penalty, the Force kicked for the corner and Hodgson powered over the line from the back of a rolling maul.

Burton continued his impressive kicking, landing the conversion from the sideline bring the Force within eight points.

Tim Nani Williams finally got his revenge when he brought the crowd to their feet, stepping through four defenders to score the Chiefs bonus-point try with one of the most exciting plays of the season.

McKenzie failed to convert but the Chiefs had a lead of 35-22 with precious little time left on the clock.

The Force refused to say die, scoring in the corner late in the match thanks to Heath Tessmann but when Burton missed the conversion, the Force were still eight points adrift.

The Chiefs held on for a good victory 35-27 and go into Anzac weekend with firm hopes of making the playoffs.

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