Planet Rugby

Chiefs grab a late bonus point win

06th March 2009 08:20

Share:

Aled de Malmanche v Force

Surging forward: Aled de Malmanche takes the ball on a drive

The Chiefs notched their first win of the Super 14 on Friday, beating the Force 31-13 and grabbing a bonus point with a last-minute burst by Colin Bourke.

The home side dominated from start to finish. They crossed the fine line that had separated delight and despair a week ago against the Sharks, tearing into the game up front and picking any gap possible out wide.

There were still far too many mistakes though, which kept the Force in the game for longer than they should have been. Armed with decent execution to go with the energy and intent, the Chiefs could have been a bonus point of tries up by half an hour rather than by a single point.

This time the Chiefs stuck at it and reaped the rewards, even bringing the momentum over the half-time pause.

They led after 44 seconds with a try that owed as much to slack defence as it did to the Chiefs' build-up play. A clearance kick from Matt Giteau was fielded by Sosene Anesi who swung the ball across the park to Callum Bruce. Ryan Cross was steaming up on Bruce on a blitz but Bruce managed to get the ball away in time and there was Lelia Masaga to beat three weak tackles and accelerate home under the sticks.

A great start, plenty of what followed was great as well from the Chiefs, yet as the clock ticked past 30 minutes the score was only 7-6. As with last week, the final phases kept going wrong. Passes would go to ground, a scrum at a free-kick was wheeled and lost, a line-out near the Force line from a penalty was thrown in skew, enthusiastic support went in off feet or offside. It was complete game domination, miserable profligacy - tinged also, as with last week, with the wrong end of a few 50-50 calls.

The Force barely offered anything. Liam Messam, Tanerau Latimer and Serge Lilo shut down Giteau with nobody outside stepping up to help Giteau out. That must be a concern for John Mitchell: Junior Pelesasa is a fine centre but is not much in the way of a second five-eighth. If Giteau is under pressure, who can relieve him?

But the visitors did take their chances. Giteau landed a penalty after eight minutes for offside and Cameron Shepherd landed one from inside his own half to make it 7-6 after 12 minutes. They stayed in the game for a while, then the Chiefs finally broke it.

Brendon Leonard scored the second try, fittingly for the amount of good attacking ball he brought to the party. After Liam Messam had broken some more tackles down the right, Stephen Donald strode through the fragmented midfield and slipped an inside pass to Leonard who also went under the posts.

Four minutes later Richard Kahui broke up the blind side on the left, popped a ball out to Sitiveni Sivivatu, who offloaded out of the tackle back inside to Kahui for another run-in to the poles. Needless to say, with all the scorers making life easy for him, Donald landed all three conversions for a 21-6 half-time lead.

The Force tightened up their game up front after the break and discontinued the blitz defence which had created more problems for themselves than the Chiefs in the first half.

Slowly they worked their way back into the game, but the threat still came from the home team. Leonard broke from his own 22 and fed Masaga, who was just beaten to his own kick ahead by Nick Cummins. Masaga broke audaciously from under his own posts, but ran away from his support.

Still the mistakes in execution haunted the home team and so the visitors found a back door into the game, when a high kick from Giteau was mis-fielded under pressure by Anesi and Tamati Horua was given a clear run home.

Donald made it 24-13 with a penalty on the hour mark, but the question still hung tensely in the air: would there be a bonus point try?

There were shades of last week before it did come. Two moves and several phases were stopped almost on the line, Mike Delany had a score ruled out for a forward pass, a cross-kick by Donald only found Drew Mitchell who marked.

That could have been the end of it, but Mitchell, hoping to spark a last-gasp length of the field move to grab a bonus point for the visitors, opted to tap and go from his own line. The Chiefs turned over and out the ball came to Colin Bourke who steamed in under the posts - even then it needed a TMO to verify the try's legitimacy. But this one counted. Will it kick-start the Chiefs' season?

Man of the match: A tough one to call. Lelia Masaga was a constant threat, while Brendon Leonard once again underlined his All Black credentials, playing as though his knee had never been injured. Then there was the work-rate in attack and defence of Sitiveni Sivivatu. But for his role in shackling Giteau and helping out his attackers, the bustling performances of Liam Messam and Tanerau Latimer are the winners here.

The scorers:

For the Chiefs:

Tries: Masaga, Leonard, Kahui, Bourke

Cons: Donald 4

Pen: Donald

For the Force:

Try: Horua

Con: Giteau

Pens: Giteau, Shepherd

Chiefs: 15 Sosene Anesi, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Richard Kahui, 12 Callum Bruce, 11 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Liam Messam (c), 7 Serge Lilo, 6 Tanerau Latimer, 5 Kevin O'Neill, 4 Craig Clarke, 3 James McGougan, 2 Aled de Malmanche, 1 Ben May.

Replacements: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Joe Savage, 18 Mark Burman, 19 Colin Bourke, 20 Toby Morland, 21 Mike Delany, 22 Jackson Willison.

Force: 15 Drew Mitchell, 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Ryan Cross, 12 Junior Pelesasa, 11 Cameron Shepherd, 10 Matt Giteau, 9 Josh Valentine, 8 Matt Hodgson, 7 David Pocock, 6 Tamaiti Horua, 5 Nathan Sharpe (c), 4 Tom Hockings, 3 Ben Castle, 2 Tai McIsaac, 1 Pek Cowan.

Replacements: 16 Luke Holmes, 17 AJ Whalley, 18 David Pusey, 19 Richard Stanford, 20 Chris O'Young, 21 James O'Connor, 22 Haig Sare.

Referee: Matt Goddard (Australia)

Touch judges: Chris Pollock (New Zealand), Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 26
London Welsh vs Gloucester19:45
Saturday , September 27
Saracens vs Sale15:00
Leicester vs London Irish15:00
Northampton vs Bath15:15
Sunday , September 28
Exeter vs Harlequins14:00
Wasps vs Newcastle14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , September 27
South Africa vs Australia16:05
Argentina vs New Zealand23:10
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 26
Edinburgh vs Scarlets19:35
Leinster vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Glasgow vs Connacht19:35
Saturday , September 27
Zebre vs Ulster15:00
Munster vs Ospreys18:30
Sunday , September 28
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Benetton Treviso16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , September 27
Toulon vs Montpellier18:00
Stade Francais vs La Rochelle18:00
Bayonne vs Toulouse18:00
Brive vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Oyonnax vs Clermont Auvergne18:00
Lyon vs Castres18:00
Grenoble vs Racing Metro Paris18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 26
Cheetahs vs Blue Bulls19:10
Saturday , September 27
Sharks vs Eastern Province Kings14:00
Pumas vs Western Province15:00
Griquas vs Lions15:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle 10 - 35 NorthamptonNewcastle vs Northampton Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Ospreys 62 - 13 EdinburghOspreys vs Edinburgh Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
ITM Cup
Otago 38 - 7 WaikatoOtago vs Waikato Report
Wellington 20 - 42 TasmanWellington vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 20
Sale 46 - 8 London WelshSale vs London Welsh Report
Harlequins 26 - 23 WaspsHarlequins vs Wasps Report
London Irish 32 - 36 SaracensLondon Irish vs Saracens Report
Bath 45 - 0 LeicesterBath vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 13 - 33 GlasgowNewport Gwent D
Scarlets 43 - 0 Benetton TrevisoScarlets vs Benetton Treviso Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Racing Metro Paris 27 - 16 ToulouseRacing Metro Paris vs Toulouse Report
Grenoble 24 - 15 Bayonne
Montpellier 23 - 3 Stade FrancaisMontpellier vs Stade Francais Report
La Rochelle 26 - 29 Bordeaux-Begles
Clermont Auvergne 43 - 12 LyonClermont Auvergne vs Lyon Report
Castres 27 - 18 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Western Province 36 - 12 GriquasWestern Province vs Griquas Report
Blue Bulls 15 - 26 SharksBlue Bulls vs Sharks 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
Manawatu 36 - 17 Southland
Auckland 32 - 7 North HarbourAuckland vs North Harbour Report
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
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath314
2Saracens313
3Northampton311
4Exeter310
5Leicester Tigers39