SIMON BORCHARDT saw the Chiefs produce a strong second-half showing to beat the Waratahs 30-13 in Hamilton.
The hosts struggled in the first half when they hardly saw the ball, but a drastic change in the possession stakes after the break led to a drastic change of fortune. The Chiefs won the second half 17-3 and will be a bit disappointed not to have got the bonus point.
The Waratahs will also look back on this game with regret, because they had their chances to take control of it, especially in the first 40.
The visitors scored an early try when winger Tom Kingston switched with scrumhalf Brendan McKibbin and managed to place the ball on the line after being tackled. But that was cancelled out two minutes later by Chiefs fullback Robbie Robinson following a strong run by winger Tim Nanai-Williams.
McKibbin kicked a penalty but two from flyhalf Aaron Cruden gave the hosts a fortunate 13-10 lead at the break. The Waratahs had 72% of the possession and 71% of the territory in the first half and spent the last five minutes camped in the Chiefs’ red zone, but desperate defence kept them out.
The Waratahs’ bad luck continued early in the second half when Sonny Bill Williams’s poor grubber bounced off Dave Dennis’s foot into the hands of Richard Kahui, who sent loosehead prop Sona Taumalolo away for his fourth try of the season.
Penalties from McKibbin and Cruden made it 23-13, before the Chiefs sealed the win with 12 minutes to go when a strong shove from the forwards allowed Sam Cane to intercept the ball from the back of the Waratahs scrum. The replacement flank found scrumhalf Tawera Kerr-Barlow, who sent No 6 Liam Messam away for the try.
Lelia Masaga thought he’d scored the Chiefs’ bonus-point try on the 75-minute mark, but the substitute was penalised for shoving a defender who didn’t have the ball. With time up, the hosts had one last chance to launch an attack, from their 22m line, but opted to boot the ball into touch and take the four points.