Planet Rugby

Chiefs win Johannesburg try-fest

19th February 2010 20:02

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stephen donald

Flawless: Stephen Donald ended the spectacle with 32 points

A whopping eighteen tries were scored in Johannesburg, as the Chiefs picked up their second Super 14 win on the road following a mind-boggling 72-65 victory against the Lions on Friday.

Don't rub your eyes, the final score you see before you is legit!

Never before in Super Rugby history has 137 points been posted on the scoreboard that included 18 tries (nine apiece, including a hat-trick from both sides), sixteen conversions and five penalties.

The 137 points eclipsed the previous best total of 118 set in Natal's 75-43 win over the Highlanders in 1997 and the 18 tries scored surpassed the 14 touchdowns that were accumulated in the Crusaders' 96-19 victory over the Waratahs in 2002.

It's astonishing that - after trailing 72-25 at one stage of the game - the brave Lions banked two bonus points. It's even more astounding that the Lions were leading 25-17 until Chiefs pivot Stephen Donald scored ten points before the half-time mark.

But the hosts only had themselves to blame as their game-plan of running their opponents off the park proved to be one-dimensional and their defence staggered as a result.

Conversely, the Chiefs' ill-discipline and three yellow cards allowed the Lions to take charge at certain stages during the match, but they had control when all fifteen men were on the field. Despite a late defensive lapse from the visitors which led to four tries for the Lions, the 47-point lead proved just enough for the win.

Chiefs centre Richard Kahui was instrumental, netting a hat-trick of touchdowns, although some of the gloss was taken off his performance following an incorrect yellow card for a spear tackle towards the end. Television replays later showed that it was in fact Tim Nanai-Williams who was the guilty one.

There were also three tries for youngster Wandile Mjekevu - the first of his Super 14 career - out of the Lions' nine in total, which all proved in vain.

The visitors began in a hurry and were in front after only three minutes when Callum Bruce picked the ball up at the back of the maul and charged round the outside to touch down in the corner.

Donald added the extras, before the Lions slowly began to settle.

They were awarded a penalty after the visitors' forwards were caught offside - Earl Rose making no mistake with his effort sailing through the middle of the posts. But Donald added his first three points when Willem Stoltz came shoulder-charging into a tackle.

The hosts missed an easy penalty chance through Rose to cut the lead again, before the full-back converted the next opportunity, which was conceded at a price by the Chiefs - Sione Lauaki sent to the sin-bin following a spear tackle on JP Joubert.

Even with a man less, the visitors still looked superior and Kahui took advantage of miscommunication in the home defence to score between the posts - his fly-half again adding the extras.

The Lions were back to within six points before the 20-minute mark thanks to a quick tap-and-go penalty by Joubert, who spread the ball quickly wide to Mjekevu to score the first try of his Super 14 career.

A missed conversion by Rose was followed by the Chiefs being reduced to 13 men - Aled De Malmanche given a yellow card for deliberately collapsing the maul.

This time it proved a hurdle too far as United States captain Todd Clever stretched over after a pass from Doppies la Grange, followed by Carlos Spencer cutting through easily after another quick-thinking pass by Joubert to send the Lions into the lead.

Rose converted both times and, with the numbers coming back to 15 each, Donald's penalty and converted try on the stroke of half time put the Chiefs 27-25 ahead at the break.

Straight from the restart, Liam Messam claimed the bonus-point try for his side when Sitiveni Sivivatu and Lauaki combined well to send the flanker in to score.

Kahui then grabbed his second of the night when he intercepted a Deon van Rensburg pass and raced 60 metres to score, which was followed by his hat-trick try - Jonathan Mokuena tossing the ball straight into his path. Donald converted all three tries to cap a fine turnaround and further touchdowns from Junior Poluleuligaga and Sivivatu stretched the lead even further.

Another spear tackle by the Chiefs led to a third booking of the game for the Chiefs as Kahui left the field with a disgruntled look on his after being wrongly accused - and rightly so.

That almost opened the door for the home side but late scores from La Grange, Tonderai Chavhanga, two from Mjekevu, Cobus Grobbelaar and Jacques Lombaard only helped the Lions claim the consolation of a second bonus point - the first coming for four tries scored. Brendon Leonard's try that followed Chavhanga's effort eventually proving crucial as the New Zealanders held on.

Phew!

Man of the match: In a flawless performance with the boot, Chiefs pivot Stephen Donald managed 32 points courtesy of one try, nine conversions and three penalties - not a bad day at the office by any means.

The scorers:

For Lions:
Tries: Mjekevu 3, Clever, Spencer, La Grange, Chavhanga, Grobbelaar, Lombaard
Cons: Rose 7
Pens: Rose 2

For Chiefs:
Tries: Bruce, Kahui 3, Donald, Messam, Poluleuligaga, Sivivatu, Leonard
Cons: Donald 9
Pens: Donald 3

Lions: 15 Earl Rose, 14 Tonderai Chavhanga, 13 Deon Van Rensburg, 12 Doppies La Grange, 11 Wandile Mjekevu, 10 Carlos Spencer, 9 JP Joubert, 8 Todd Clever, 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar (c), 5 Willem Stoltz, 4 Franco van der Merwe, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Hannes Franklin, 1 Heinke van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Charles Emslie, 17 JC Kevin Janse van Rensburg Buys, 18 Jacques Lombaard, 19 Jonathan Mokuena, 20 Jacques Coetzee, 21 Burton Francis, 22 Michael Killian.

Chiefs: 15 Mike Delany, 14 Dwayne Sweeney, 13 Richard Kahui, 12 Callum Bruce, 11 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Junior Poluleuligaga, 8 Sione Lauaki (c), 7 Luke Braid, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Culum Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke, 3 Nathan White, 2 Aled de Malmanche, 1 Sona Taumalolo.
Replacements: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Ben Afeaki, 18 Jarrad Hoeata, 19 Tanerau Latimer, 20 Brendon Leonard, 21 Jackson Willison, 22 Tim Nanai-Williams.

Referee: Marius Jonker (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Stuart Berry (South Africa), Sindile Mayende (South Africa)
Television match official: Johann Meuwesen (South Africa)

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