NEWS ARTICLES
Chiefs pip Highlanders
Brenden Nel
supersport.com
March 01, 2014

Defending Vodacom Super Rugby champions, the Chiefs, had to overcome a 16-7 halftime deficit to storm home and claim a close 21-19 victory in their derby game against the Highlanders in Hamilton on Saturday.

It took a late try by Charlie Ngatai in the 67th minute to steal the lead back and then some stern defence as the Highlanders tried everything they could to get the victory, but to no avail.

Still, the game will go down as one of the more entertaining, with high skill levels and the willingness of both sides to attack being the basis of a very exciting game.

Following their victory over the Blues last weekend and this performance, the Highlanders have shown they will be a force to reckon with this year and are sure to give a number of teams nightmares when they have to face them.

The Chiefs, though, still are classy, and have enough strike power both up front and at the back to have confidence in reaching a third consecutive title this year.

Yet, for a large period of this game, it was the visitors who ruled the roost and their surge just before halftime made many believe they were capable of scoring an upset.

It was the Highlanders who opened the scoring with a penalty early on, but one which was quickly negated thanks to some excellent interplay and soft hands by the Chiefs, as the ball found its way to Tim Nanai-Williams for the opening try.

Lima Sopoaga slotted a second penalty to bring his side within a single point of the champs, and then the Highlanders started dominating, putting together phases and making significant gains across the advantage line when they attacked.

It was an old fashioned lineout maul that did it for them, as the juggernaut wasn’t defended well by the Chiefs and John Hardy had an easy touchdown at the back of the moving maul to take the lead.

Sopoaga capitalised on more pressure late in the first half as the scoreline was stretched and the visitors led 16-7 into the break.

Whatever Dave Rennie said at halftime woke the Chiefs up, and it was clear that they were a lot more direct, a lot more focused and a lot more determined as the two sides slugged it out early in the second half.

With good front-foot ball, it wasn’t long before the Highlanders were defending their own line and, after a number of the forwards bashed it up, flanker Liam Messam found the hole to go over and Cruden added the extras to put the home side within two.

Sopoaga extended the lead but the Chiefs pressure was telling, and it took some excellent vision and a galloping run from flank Liam Squire that took the ball 30 metres up field, and ended with a cross kick from Cruden to Ngatai that was collected to score.

As the clock ticked down, the Chiefs showed their experience and played the percentages, but the Highlanders never gave up and simply ran out of time.

That a match of this quality had to have a loser was a pity, but it was also a reminder it will take a lot to beat the Chiefs this season.

SCORERS

Chiefs – Tries: Tim Nanai-Williams, Liam Messam, Charlie Ngatai. Conversions: Aaron Cruden (3)

Highlanders – Try: John Hardie. Conversion: Lima Sopoaga. Penalties: Lima Sopoaga (4)

MATCH CENTRE
FIXTURES
     
RESULTS
     
SA Schools 2015
Friday, August 07 2015
12:00 - South Africa U18 A vs Italy U18
City Park Stadium, Cape Town
14:00 - England U18 vs France U18
City Park Stadium, Cape Town
Absa Currie Cup Premier Division
15:30 - ORC Griquas vs DHL Western Province
Griqua Park, Kimberley
SA Schools 2015
16:00 - South Africa U18 vs Wales U18
City Park Stadium, Cape Town
Absa Currie Cup Premier Division
18:00 - Steval Pumas vs Cell C Sharks
Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit
Absa Under 19 Competition
Saturday, August 08 2015
09:30 - Eastern Province U19 vs Golden Lions U19
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, PE
10:30 - Free State U19 vs Blue Bulls U19
Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Absa Under 21 Competition
11:30 - EP Kings U21 vs Golden Lions U21
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, PE
The Castle Lager Rugby Championship
12:05 - Australia vs New Zealand
ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Absa Under 21 Competition
12:05 - Free State U21 vs Blue Bulls U21
Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein

Copyright 2011 - SARU. All Rights Reserved.