Chiefs edge Highlanders in NZ derby humdinger
Cape Town - The Chiefs have beaten the Highlanders in a pulsating New Zealand Super Rugby derby in Hamilton on Friday.
As it happened: Chiefs v Highlanders
The Chiefs won 27-22 after leading 13-7 at half-time.
The Chiefs scored three tries through fullback Solomon Alaimalo, hooker Nathan Harris and wing Sean Wainui. Flyhalf Damian
McKenzie enjoyed a good night with the boot at poles and landed all three conversions and two penalties.
The Highlanders replied with three tries of their own by wings Waisake Naholo and Tevita Li and replacement back Sio Tomkinson. Replacement pivot Fletcher Smith, who was forced into the action early after a nasty-looking Achilles injury suffering by starting flyhalf Lima Sopoaga, landed two conversions and a penalty.
The Chiefs, who have endured a torrid injury toll this season but were expertly led by skipper Sam Cane playing in his 100th Super Rugby match, picked up four points for their victory and moved to the top of the New Zealand Conference and into third spot in the Overall standings.
The Highlanders picked up a single point for losing by seven or fewer points and stayed fourth and sixth in the New Zealand Conference and Overall log, respectively.
In next weekend's Round 8 action, the Chiefs host the Blues in Hamilton on Saturday, April 7 (09:35 SA time), while the Highlanders have a bye.
15 Solomon Alaimalo, 14 Toni Pulu, 13
Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Johnny Faauli, 11 Sean Wainui, 10 Damian
McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Taleni Seu, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Liam
Messam, 5 Tyler Ardron, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Nathan
Harris, 1 Aidan Ross
Substitutes: 16 Liam Polwart, 17 Karl
Tu’inukuafe, 18 Jeff Thwaites, 19 Pita Gus Sowakula, 20 Lachlan Boshier,
21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Charlie Ngatai
Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Matt Faddes, 12 Rob
Thompson, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke
Whitelock, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Josh Dickson, 4 Jackson
Hemopo, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Ash Dixon (co-captain), 1 Daniel
Substitutes: 16 Greg Pleasants-Tate, 17 Aki Seiuli,
18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Tom Franklin, 20 Shannon Frizell, 21 Josh Renton, 22
Fletcher Smith, 23 Sio Tomkinson