Retallick scores two in Chiefs win

A second half comeback inspired by rampaging lock Brodie Retallick helped the injury-hit Waikato Chiefs to a 41-28 victory over a surprisingly expansive Bulls side in Hamilton on Friday.

Retallick scored a try in each half and smashed into everything that moved in a Bulls gold strip, which was reminiscent of the Brazilian national soccer team’s kit, as the Chiefs kept the visitors scoreless after the break.

The Chiefs have been blighted by injuries this season with 14 players, including All Blacks props Kane Hames and Nepo Laulala, unavailable for selection. Utility back Tim Nanai-Williams and prop Atu Moli are already out for the season.

The Bulls had surprised in the first half with an attack minded game as they scored four tries, with flyhalf Handre Pollard and centre Jesse Kriel pulling the strings for a backline intent on running and exploiting space.

Each of the Bulls’ four first-half tries, to fullback Warrick Gelant, winger Divan Rossouw (two) and Pollard, were sparked by scintillating backline play where they tore the Chiefs normally resolute defence to shreds.

The Chiefs looked shell-shocked in the face of the relentless Bulls’ attack and were heavily penalised by referee Shuhei Kubo but stayed in the game with tries to inside centre Jonathan Fau’uli and Retallick.

Retallick’s first try shortly before halftime had looked like being a momentum changer as the Chiefs got back to 21-14 but Pollard then gave his side a 28-14 lead at the break after capitalising on a counterattack involving Kriel and replacement scrumhalf Embrose Papier.

The Chiefs were a different proposition after the break, with Retallick driving them forward and the All Blacks lock set up Mitch Brown’s 43rd minute try before rampaging through three tackles to grab his second of the match.

Damian McKenzie added a 63rd-minute penalty to give the home side the lead for the first time before Solomon Alaimalo gave them some breathing space with a 74th-minute try after Bulls prop Conraad Van Vurren had been sinbinned.

The Bulls, trailing by six as play continued at the hooter, tried to run the ball out from their own line but lost it forward and Chiefs centre Anton Lienert-Brown swooped to score another try and blow out the scoreline.

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