Hamilton - The Chiefs reached their
first Super 14 final on Friday with a 14-10 victory over the Hurricanes in a semi-final decided by a sweeping 60m counterattack
resulting in a try for Mils Muliaina.
Stephen Donald converted
the Chiefs captain's try and the Chiefs withstood a late onslaught to
claim a place in the final against the winner of Saturday's semi-final
between the Bulls and the champion Crusaders.
The Chiefs, who lost the first three games of the season, produced an
outstanding defensive effort in the final 15 minutes when Hamilton's
Waikato Stadium became enshrouded in a thick blanket of fog and the
Hurricanes were hammering at their lines.
"The heart and
dedication that went into that last 10 or 15 minutes you can't train
for that," Muliaina said in a televised interview.
"You have to
have togetherness and tightness and we had that. We knew we had to try
and slow their ball down and if they were going to pick and go we knew
we had to put them back and the forwards did that."
centre Ma'a Nonu scored the visitors' only try, while scrumhalf Piri
Weepu added the conversion and a late penalty to bring his side back
into the match.
Chiefs number eight Sione Lauaki scored the
other try for the hosts in the first half when Hurricanes prop John
Schwalger was in the sinbin after being yellow carded for a
professional foul with his side pinned to their tryline.
Flyhalf Donald added the sideline conversion to ensure the score was locked at 7-7 at the break.
"I thought we did really well, there were only a couple of things that
let us down like giving away a few too many penalties and a couple of
missed tackles but I'm very proud because they played well," said
Wellington captain Rodney So'oialo.
"They never really gave up and took it to them, but congratulations to the Chiefs."