Chiefs stuff ‘Tahs

The Chiefs put a major dent in the Waratahs’ Vodacom Super 14 title aspirations, beating them 37-33 on Saturday.

However, the Waratahs scored their fifth try after the hooter to finish within seven points to earn what could be a valuable bonus point when the fight for a home semi-final is tallied.

The Tahs’ had already earned one for scoring four tries, but in the end Peter Hewat missed four conversions which ultimately cost them, while counterpart David Hill didn’t miss a kick all match. He finished with 14 points via four conversions and three penalties.

In a highly entertaining match played in Hamilton, the Chiefs used their dominance in most facets of play to deny the ‘Tahs a much-needed win.

The Chiefs were better at the breakdown, with their loosies dominant, while they had the biggest chunk of territory and possession throughout the 80 minutes.

The defeat leaves the Crusaders in pole position to finish the round-robin in top position and with it the vital home semi-final and possible final.

The first half was evenly contested as each time the ‘Tahs made a move on the scoreboard the Chiefs would inevitably follow suite soon after.

The see-saw nature continued throughout the opening 40 minutes, but at the break it was the Chiefs who deservedly led 20-16.

Two tries by ‘Tahs flyhalf Matt Rogers and hooker Adam Freier were matched by the five-pointers by centre Sam Tuitupou and fullback Mils Muliaina.

The pick of that bunch was undoubtedly Rogers’ score as he beat several defenders for a fine solo effort. Muliaina too brushed off some weak tackles to go over in the corner for a good individual try.

The Chiefs, with flank Marty Holah leading the way were winning plenty of ball on the ground and that put pressure on the visitors.

And six minutes into the second half another piece of brilliance by Rogers saw right wing Lote Tuquiri pick up his pin-point cross kick for a great score in the corner. The conversion was missed by Peter Hewat and the visitors led 21-20.

The tit-for-tat continued, but the Chiefs pack started to assert themselves and the Aussies found themselves 37-26 behind with ten minutes remaining.

That gap proved too much for them to bridge. The match between the ‘Tahs and Hurricanes next weekend is likely to settle who gets the second semi.

Scorers:

Chiefs:
Tries: Sam Tuitupou (16 mins), Mils Muliaina (22 mins, 52 mins), Sitiveni Sivivatu (68 mins)
Cons: David Hill (16 mins, 22 mins, 52 mins, 68 mins)
Pens: Hill 2 (6 mins, 36 mins, 65 mins)

Waratahs:
Tries: Matt Rogers (13 mins), Adam Freier (25 mins), Lote Tuquiri (46 mins), Tatafu Polota-Nau (61 mins), Rocky Elsom (80 mins)
Cons: Peter Hewat 1 (80 mins)
Pens: Peter Hewat 2 (4 mins, 20 mins)

By Andrew Hollely