Chiefs hold off Highlanders

2012-06-29 11:19

Cape Town - The Chiefs consolidated their lead at the top of the Super Rugby ladder on Friday, dashing the Highlanders' hopes of a play-off spot with a 27-21 win in Dunedin.

In the first match back after a three-week break for international fixtures, both sides scored two tries apiece but five penalties to Aaron Cruden proved the difference in a tightly contested New Zealand derby.

The win puts the Chiefs in prime position to top the New Zealand conference, although they face a tough final two regular season matches against the Crusaders and Hurricanes.

The Highlanders entered the match eighth on the ladder and, barring major upsets, have no chance of achieving a top six play-off position.

"It's not easy to get a win down in Dunedin," Chiefs captain Craig Clarke said.

"What pleased me the most was probably the heart of our defence towards the end when they were chasing the game, we just stayed in there and made some tackles."

The Chiefs stunned the Highlanders with a try in the opening two minutes, Liam Messam intercepting a pass and sending Sonny Bill Williams down the field, with Tim Nanai Williams touching down for the five pointer.

Cruden converted but the Highlanders, their season on the line, continued to attack, earning two penalties to one to narrow the gap to 10-6 after 20 minutes.

They patiently dominated possession but only managed to secure a penalty before conceding against the run of play three minutes before half-time after a charge down by Ben Tameifuna led to a Robbie Robinson try.

Cruden piled on the pressure with a penalty after the half-time siren, then another just after the restart to make it 21-9.

The hosts made the most of an attacking opportunity when Sonny Bill Williams was penalised for a shoulder charge, rewarded when they opted to run the ball and hooker Andrew Hore forced the ball over from a ruck.

The Chiefs responded with a period of sustained attack but had a try disallowed when the ball was ruled held up over the line, only for the Highlanders' Adam Thomson to concede a penalty and make it 24-14.

Hosea Gear managed a try for the Highlanders three minutes from time but the Chiefs defence proved up to the task of keeping them out.



15 Ben Smith, 14 Kade Poki, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Tim Boys, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Nick Crosswell, 4 Jarrad  Hoeata, 3 Ma'afu Fia, 2 Jason Rutledge, 1 Jamie Mackintosh (captain)

Substitutes: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Chris King, 18 Josh Bekhuis, 19 James Haskell, 20 Jimmy Cowan, 21 Mike Delany, 22 Buxton Popoali'i.

15 Robbie Robinson, 14 Tim Nanai-Williams, 13 Jackson Willison, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Kane Thompson, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke (captain), 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Mahonri Schwalger, 1 Toby Smith

Substitutes: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Sona Taumalolo, 18 Michael Fitzgerald, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Brendon Leonard, 21 Andrew Horrell, 22 Lelia Masaga


  • jaco.botha.75 - 2012-06-29 11:43

    Game on, the Stormers will repeatedly stomp on the chiefs if we meet them in the final..

      cape.maori - 2012-06-29 11:47

      Please explain how!

      hvanderlinde - 2012-06-29 12:22

      Joiner: By playing better, harder and faster Rugby!!!! that's how!! We beat the Highlanders in Dunedin with a bigger margin than the Chiefs could muster!! Explain to me how we will not stomp them??? You're not even a real maori as you tried to sound the part the other day by throwing around lines like "kia ora" only to be corrected about the true meaning by someone actually living in NZ!! haha!!!

      jaco.botha.75 - 2012-06-29 13:28

      If the chiefs are so great, how do you explain the 61-17 defeat they suffered in the 2009 Super 14 final against the bulls? They don't have character, so they will choke should they reach the final... Mark my words, the Stormers will lift the cup this year

      ej.smith.589 - 2012-06-29 13:31

      Did the Stormers make the final in 2009?

      sean.brady.14224 - 2012-06-29 13:38

      Jaco, that loss was three seasons ago! And they have signed up some seriously good players this year! Really stupid comment. The Chiefs have been really very good this year. They do have two tricky games left this season. One additional win, and a loss by less that 7 in these two games means the Stormers need three wins, with a few bonus points to take top spot! If the Stormers are not top they could face the Crusaders and the Chiefs in the semi then the final - that won't be easy at all. And I wouldn't mention choke when it comes to playoffs in Super Rugby, the Stormers have a habit of doing just that!!!

      Rich - 2012-06-29 13:45

      Jaco, totally different coaching set up this time round (Rennie and Smith) and many new players who weren't even playing super rugby in 09. Any rugby fan with half a brain would know that the Chiefs of 09 and the current team cannot be compared. Complete arrogance from a fan who's team has never lifted the super rugby trophy. I guess you were probably predicting the Boks to hammer England in every test as well.

      jaco.botha.75 - 2012-06-29 13:53

      No, and we didn't play the chiefs that year, otherwise you wouldn't have had the luck of playing in the final, and we showed you that the following year by beating you on your home ground by 49 - 15. For a quick history update, go to You might learn something about rugby

      cape.maori - 2012-06-29 13:59

      @Jaco - please keep quiet! Jy maak net jou naam ...........

      chaplinncharlie - 2012-06-29 17:27

      @Jaco... dit is moeilik neem ek aan?

      john.edwards.733450 - 2012-06-29 18:10

      jaco, I honestly don't think you will .

      john.edwards.733450 - 2012-06-29 18:17

      @Jaco, 'If the chiefs are so great, how do you explain the 61-17 defeat they suffered in the 2009 Super 14 final against the bulls' are you taking the piss? You're an accountant ?!?

      caleb.drumm.1 - 2012-06-30 02:12

      If you come across the Crusdaders though, the Stormers are sunk

  • - 2012-06-29 12:32

    The pathetic comments and attitudes on this article really make me sick and justifies a black jersey. Damn man why always the xenophobic attitude and I know better syndrome.

      hvanderlinde - 2012-06-29 12:47

      It's all over the site ZION, you get pulled into it. Xenophobic? please explain? The attitude I identified is that of an out dated, disgruntled aparteid mentality where you would support anybody playing against the springboks, which has clearly boiled over into Super Rugby as well. Now that my friend, is pathetic. People who refuse to see how far we've come and refuse to change are the cancer in this country.

      john.edwards.733450 - 2012-06-29 18:18

      "and I know better syndrome" .. Physician, heal thyself

  • cape.maori - 2012-06-29 12:58

    @Van der Linde - are you ok mate? Take it easy. I cannot see the stormers beating the Chiefs or the Saders. You know, we will be in our numbers at Crusaders Park in Newlands. Relax, it is Friday. Shame

      Rugbyfan - 2012-06-29 17:27

      cape.maori is a great example of the following afrikaans expression: "As 'n krummel 'n brood wil wees."

  • jaco.botha.75 - 2012-06-29 14:07

    The bulls... point taken everyone, only time will tell, but I'll make a point of it to revisit this comment after the final. Then the victor can say his say...

  • caleb.drumm.1 - 2012-06-30 02:19

    Jaco, dont be stupid 2009 was three years ago, not any of those players that were in the team then are in it now, how can you not see that.

      Pat - 2012-06-30 08:09

      he is a dumb dutchman that sez the same thing every year about his team!!! and they STILL waiting to lift the trophy!! STILL!!!

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