The St.George Queensland Reds have suffered a 46-17 loss to the Chiefs at New Plymouth’s Yarrow Stadium in Round 11 of Vodafone Super Rugby.
The Chiefs outscored the Reds six tries to three, while Damian McKenzie was damaging with the boot, slotting five conversions and two penalties.
Reds head coach Nick Stiles said: “We competed well for 40 minutes but Rugby is an 80-minute contest and unfortunately we let our standards slip in the second half.
“It’s something that has been letting us down this season and something we need to rectify urgently because it’s hurting us badly.
“We’re showing growth each week but no one is happy with that when you’re sitting in the change room at the end with the same result each week.
“We’ve got a week now to get better and really take it to the Rebels.”
The Reds began the match strongly, with hooker Stephen Moore crossing for the first try of the game off a back of the rolling maul in the 10th minute.
The Chiefs answered back through Kane Hames, and a successful conversion from McKenzie put the home side ahead 7-5.
A converted try to Eto Nabuli put the Reds back in the lead, 12-7, at the 18-minute-mark.
Two penalties from McKenzie in the space of five minutes and a yellow card to George Smith for a high tackle put the Reds on the back foot towards the tail end of the first half.
Charlie Ngatai crossed for the Chiefs second try in the 35th minute, McKenzie converted to give his side a 20-12 lead heading into halftime.
The Chiefs crossed for two early tries in the opening four minutes of the second half through Dominic Bird and Stephen Donald, before Donald crashed over for a second in the 52nd minute. McKenzie converted to take the score to 39-12.
Reds centre Campbell Magnay crossed for the Reds’ third try in the 57th minute off the back of a Duncan Paia’aua break, to take the score to 39-17.
Leroy Houston came off the Reds’ bench for Hendrik Tui in the 61st minute to earn his 50th Queensland cap, after first making his Super Rugby debut for the side in 2008.
James Lowe scored the final try of the match in the 71st minute, McKenzie converted to secure the 46-17 win for the Chiefs.
The Reds return to Australia to prepare for their Round 12 clash against the Melbourne Rebels at AAMI Park next Saturday, 13 May.
St.George Queensland Reds 17 (Stephen Moore, Eto Nabuli, Campbell Magnay tries; Quade Cooper 1 conversion) defeated by Chiefs 46 (Stephen Donald 2, Kane Hames, Dominic Bird, James Lowe tries; Damian McKenzie 5 conversions 2 penalties) at Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth, New Zealand, on Saturday 6 May 2017.