Invercargill - Winger Lelia Masaga scored an outstanding individual try 15 minutes from fulltime to give the Chiefs a 14-10 win over the Highlanders in Super 14 rugby on Saturday.
Each team scored a converted try and had a player sin-binned in the first half but Masaga's 65th-minute try allowed Waikato to outscore the Highlanders 7-3 in the second half.
The win was the Chiefs' sixth in succession over the Highlanders in Super rugby and their second in a row this season after they opened their campaign with three straight losses.
"It was pretty ugly out there, but on the positive side we got the win and we were pretty lucky to get four points out of this," the Chiefs’ captain Mils Muliaina said.
Seal the match
Winger Fetu'u Vainikolo scored a 15th-minute try to open a 7-0 lead for the Highlanders.
Flanker Tanerau Latimer responded in the 26th minute for the Chiefs, tying the scores at 7-7 before hooker David Hall was sin-binned for the Highlanders, then All Blacks fullback Muliaina for the Chiefs.
Flyhalf Daniel Bowden kicked a 60th-minute penalty to give the Highlanders a 10-7 lead but Masaga's try five minutes later, converted by Stephen Donald, was enough to seal the match.
Masaga received the ball with little room to move inside the right touchline but stepped infield then drove through weak Highlanders defence to score the decisive points.
Bowden missed a penalty which would have cut the lead to a single point. The Chiefs then carried the ball through 22 phases over more than 31/2 minutes in a movement which finally foundered on solid defence close to the Chiefs’ line.