Rugby: Chiefs’ Mitchell Graham dabs from the stretcher as he leaves the field after suffering an injury in their semi clash with the Bulls.
THE emotion-charged Chiefs have paid tribute to their former star Sione Lauaki by winning the inaugural Brisbane Tens at Suncorp Stadium.
The Chiefs beat the Crusaders 12-5 in an epic final at Suncorp Stadium and it was fitting that captain Liam Messam — a close friend and former teammate of Lauaki — took the ball across the sideline to end the game.
As he did so, the Chiefs’ most capped player of all time looked to the heavens.
Messam choked back the tears and dedicated his side’s triumph to Lauaki, whose death at age 35 was thought to be from kidney failure.
“It’s awesome, I know our big man ‘Wax’ (Lauaki) is looking down at us,” Messam said.
“Today’s all for him.
“We’re just trying to make him and his family proud through this tough time.”
Rugby: Taleni Seu runs in a superb try for the Chiefs in their semi-final clash with the Bulls in Brisbane 10’s comp.
It was the Crusaders who scored first in the final, as Andrew Makalio dived over in the third minute.
In a further blow, the Chiefs then lost dynamic halfback Brad Weber to what appears to be a serious knee injury.
But Luke Jacobson scored on the stroke of halftime and Tim Nanai-Williams kicked the conversion from the sideline to give the Chiefs all the momentum going into halftime.
The Crusaders lost Jed Brown to a yellow card midway through the second half for slowing the ball down, after the Chiefs made a break down the right-hand touchline.
And they made the most of the extra man, as Taleni Seu scored out wide.
There was further drama as prop Mitchell Graham suffered a suspected broken leg and left the field on a stretcher.
The Chiefs prop, however, saw the lighter side, producing a farewell dab to the crowd, which left the Brisbane faithful in stitches.
Despite a few tense moments at the end, the Chiefs held on for a historic win to honour their departed teammate.
Rugby: Chiefs forward Liam Messam says former teammate Sione Lauaki is looking down on the team in the wake of the 35-year-old’s death.
Australia’s five Super Rugby franchises struggled throughout the two-day tournament.
The Reds and Force were the only two sides to make it through to the playoffs, but each fell at the quarterfinal stage.
The Reds suffered a 12-10 loss to the Chiefs while the Force let a 12-0 lead slip in a 19-12 loss to the Bulls.
DAY 1 RESULTS
Rebels 19 Chiefs 5
Wild Knights 15 Waratahs 5
Reds 17 Blues 17
Bulls 14 Force 10
Highlanders 14 Brumbies 7
Crusaders 12 Samoa 7
Wild Knights 17 Rebels 12
Hurricanes 17 Force 12
Chiefs 26 Waratahs 14
Brumbies 10 Toulon 0
Crusaders 28 Reds 0
Samoa Blues 27-10
Highlanders 10 Hurricanes 5
Brumbies 7 Bulls 5
Force 7 Toulon 5
Rugby: Evergreen Reds forward Radike Samo has pulled off a huge tackle that has brought the crowd to life at the Brisbane Tens.
DAY 2 RESULTS
Waratahs 14 Rebels 12
Chiefs 33 Wild Knights 5
Reds 12 Samoa 5
Crusaders 17 Blues 12
Hurricanes 32 Toulon 0
Bulls 26 Highlanders 17
Chiefs 12 Reds 10
Crusaders 12 Wild Knights 7
Bulls 19 Force 12
Hurricanes 7 Highlanders 5
Chiefs 26 Bulls 14
Crusaders 17 Hurricanes 7
Chiefs 12 Crusaders 5
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