Planet Rugby

Chiefs late show seals draw

05th April 2014 15:47

Share:

sarel pretorius cheetahs

Two tries: Sarel Pretorius

The Chiefs fought back from 34-10 down to draw 43-43 in an absorbing Super Rugby game in Bloemfontein.

In what has to be one a rugby anomaly for the record books, the Chiefs on Saturday recorded their second Super Rugby draw in as many matches.

After a scintillating fightback against the Bulls last week, the defending champions bounced back from a shocking first-half performance to secure a draw against a resurgent Cheetahs outfit.

The man who stepped his side out of what looked like a certain defeat was none other than Tim Nanai-Williams who, in his final touch of the match, raced in under the posts to ensure his side would end their tour of South Africa undefeated and winless.

Nanai-Williams' first try marked the start of his team's fightback.

For the Cheetahs, who controlled matters for most of the match, they will be gutted that were denied what would have been their first ever win against the Hamilton based squad.

The home side started superbly with Pretorius sniping around a ruck fringe to give his side the early lead.

The livewire scrum-half dictated proceedings throughout a first half through his outstanding ball distribution and awareness of space on the field.

He was constantly asking questions of a somewhat lacklustre Chiefs defence and when he wasn't doing great things with ball in hand, he added some sting to the contact areas where he often - quite mysteriously - snatched possession from some of the biggest men on the field.

The Cheetahs scored their second five-pointer through Ryno Benjamin who, like Pretorius, enjoyed a splendid day on the field.

Benjamin capitalised after a stray kick landed in the lap of Willie le Roux, although on that occasion the pass may have drifted forward.

Apart from an Aaron Cruden penalty the defending champions had very little say in the opening period that was marked with some outstanding work at scrum time by the Cheetahs pack.

From that facet fly-half Johan Goosen had the chance to further extend his team's lead, but was only successful with one of his the two penalties the Cheetahs pack earned.

It took 20 minutes for the visitors to score their first try and, in true Pretorius fashion, Chiefs scrum-half Augustine Pulu caught the defence napping as he sneaked around the side of a ruck.

After another successful Goosen penalty the Pretorius show continued as he first drove the visitors back with a perfectly timed run from the base of a scrum at the halfway line, before chipping through to ensure his side could contest a line-out metres from the Chiefs line.

Pretorius' second try almost looked like a carbon copy of the first.

With their forwards dominating both set-phase and the tackle area - the Cheetahs counter-rucked as if their lives depended on it - they were soon rewarded with a try from a rolling-maul and the smile on try-scorer Boom Prinsloo's face told a story of a team that truly believed they could beat the back-to-back champions against all odds.

At half-time the Cheetahs enjoyed a 34-10 lead.

To their detriment the Cheetahs failed to maintain the same intensity after the break and it was only a matter of time before Pulu, like Pretorius, would score his second try of the match.

Still the advantage the men from Bloemfontein enjoyed was substantial, but their execution in the game became somewhat cumbersome.

Instead enhancing their game, the Free State replacements failed to make the desired impact while a certain amount of calm would return to the lads from Waikato once the legendary Mills Muliaina eventually joined the team from the bench.

As the roles reversed, the Chiefs started spreading the ball wider and soon Nanai-Williams ignited the fight back that seemed a long shot after the first 40.

Nanai-Williams chipped the Cheetahs defence after a stunning cut-out pass from Curden gave him some space to play to his well documented potential.

Fellow winger Asaeli Tikoirotuma followed suit as the home side could no longer hide their fatigue.

The light-footed speedster would go over for two tries that resulted in the drama filled finale while the home side depended on Goosen's boot to stay in the game.

The scorers:

For Cheetahs:
Tries: Pretorius 2, Benjamin, Prinsloo
Con: Goosen 4
Pen: Goosen 5

For Chiefs:
Tries: Pulu 2, Nanai-Williams 2, Tikoirotuma 2
Con: Cruden 5
Pen: Cruden

Cheetahs: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Ryno Benjamin, 11 Hennie Daniller, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Jean Cook, 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 Boom Prinsloo, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Maks van Dyk, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Rossouw de Klerk, 19 Andries Ferreira, 20 Teboho Mohoje, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Elgar Watts, 23 Howard Mnisi.

Chiefs: 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Tim Nanai-Williams, 13 Andrew Horrell, 12 Tom Marshall, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden (c), 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Michael Fitzgerald, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Rhys Marshall, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Jamie Mackintosh, 18 Josh Hohneck, 19 Liam Squire, 20Tanerau Latimer, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Anton Lienert-Brown, 23 Mils Muliaina.

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Stuart Berry (South Africa), Francois de Bruin (South Africa)
TMO: Deon van Blommenstein (South Africa)

By Michael Mentz
@Michael_Mentz

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 20
London Irish vs SaracensLondon Irish vs Saracens Preview
Harlequins vs WaspsHarlequins vs Wasps Preview
Bath vs LeicesterBath vs Leicester Preview
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs NorthamptonNewcastle vs Northampton Preview
Friday , September 26
London Welsh vs Gloucester19:45
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Saturday , September 20
Scarlets vs Benetton TrevisoScarlets vs Benetton Treviso Preview
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs EdinburghOspreys vs Edinburgh Preview
Friday , September 26
Edinburgh vs Scarlets19:35
Glasgow vs Connacht19:35
Leinster vs Cardiff Blues19:35
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , September 20
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Clermont Auvergne vs LyonClermont Auvergne vs Lyon Preview
Castres vs Oyonnax18:30
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Montpellier vs Stade Francais20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , September 20
Blue Bulls vs SharksBlue Bulls vs Sharks Preview
Friday , September 26
Cheetahs vs Blue Bulls19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Sunday , September 21
Otago vs WaikatoOtago vs Waikato Preview
Wellington vs TasmanWellington vs Tasman Preview
Wednesday, September 24
North Harbour vs Canterbury19:35
Thursday , September 25
Bay Of Plenty vs Northland19:35
Friday , September 26
Taranaki vs Auckland19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 20
Sale 46 - 8 London WelshSale vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 13 - 33 GlasgowNewport Gwent D
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Racing Metro Paris 27 - 16 ToulouseRacing Metro Paris vs Toulouse Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Western Province 36 - 12 GriquasWestern Province vs Griquas Report
Eastern Province Kings 22 - 37 CheetahsEastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Hawkes Bay 36 - 17 Bay Of Plenty
Auckland 32 - 7 North HarbourAuckland vs North Harbour Report
Manawatu 36 - 17 Southland
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester 22 - 25 ExeterGloucester vs Exeter Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Munster 31 - 5 ZebreMunster vs Zebre Report
Cardiff Blues 9 - 26 UlsterCardiff Blues vs Ulster Report
Connacht 10 - 9 LeinsterConnacht vs Leinster Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Brive 13 - 53 ToulonBrive vs Toulon Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Lions 29 - 15 Pumas
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Counties Manukau 20 - 28 CanterburyCounties Manukau vs Canterbury Report
Thursday , September 18
Northland 20 - 31 TaranakiNorthland vs Taranaki Report
Wednesday, September 17
Southland 14 - 38 TasmanSouthland vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 14
Wasps 20 - 16 NorthamptonWasps vs Northampton Report
Newcastle 18 - 20 London IrishNewcastle vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 GlasgowCardiff Blues vs Glasgow Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 MontpellierBordeaux-Begles vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
ITM Cup
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale SharksGloucester vs Sale Sharks Report
Bath 53 - 26 London WelshBath vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Exeter310
2Saracens29
3Bath29
4Leicester Tigers29
5Sale Sharks37