Planet Rugby

Chiefs back to winning ways

03rd April 2010 09:17

Share:

israel dagg richard kahui chiefs v highlanders

Derby win: The Chiefs overpowered the Highlanders

The Chiefs got back to winning ways on Saturday after beating a spirited Highlanders outfit 27-21 in a closely fought Super 14 derby clash.

Down 15-10 at half-time following sustained pressure from the Highlanders, the hosts bounced back in the second half in superb fashion to avoid a fourth defeat on the trot.

It wasn't clinical, but the Chiefs will just be pleased to have stopped the slide. They managed this by being willing to suppress their natural inclination for all out attack and embrace a slightly more conservative approach.

This is when they are most dangerous and if they can replicate this type of performance in the coming weeks, they will be strong contenders for a play-off berth.

However, the visitors came close to causing an upset and could well have snatched victory if replacement flanker Tim Boys had held a high pass from fellow reserve Matt Berquist with the tryline open five minutes from the end.

Nobody could have argued if the Highlanders had snatched victory in a close, error-ridden match at Bay Park, although the Chiefs gained an edge through the slick work of fly-half Mike Delany and maintained possession throughout.

The Round Eight victory now extends the Chiefs' winning run against the southerners to seven, dating back to 2003.

The Highlanders' pack, which was dominant throughout the first half, pushed the Chiefs off their scrum feed and fly-half Robbie Robinson snapped a drop-goal to open the scoring in the twelfth minute.

But straight after the kick-off, Jason Shoemark's early tackle on Dwayne Sweeney gave Stephen Donald the chance to level the scores and he did not fail from 30 metres out.

A second Highlanders' tighthead saw number eight Steven Setephano burst off the back of the scrum to be pulled down inches short. Quick ruck ball had rangy lock Hayden Triggs charge over to place the ball in the right-hand corner.

Israel Dagg hit the post with the conversion as the visitors took an 8-3 lead.

But the Chiefs hit straight back after Sione Lauaki won clean ball off the top of a line-out. Brendon Leonard gave to Delany who put Donald through a weak Robinson tackle and the centre put his side in front for the first time in the match, 10-8 with six minutes of the half remaining.

The lead swung again when Fetu'u Vainikolo started and finished a quick-hands counter-attack from half-way. Dagg converted from the sideline to give the visitors a 15-10 half-time advantage.

The Chiefs' error count dropped after half-time and Lauaki accepted a sweet Donald cut out pass to cross. Donald's second penalty - he kicked five shots from six in a 12-point haul - was followed by a decisive, burrowing try to prop Sona Taumalolo with 20 minutes of the match remaining.

Donald converted to give his side a nine-point lead going into the final quarter.

The Highlanders responded soon afterwards with Dagg's second penalty of the half to earn his side a bonus point but the match remained scoreless from there. The visitors had a marvelous opportunity to score, but Boys coughed the ball up with the tryline at his mercy.

It would prove to be a fatal error in the final analyses as the Highlanders were never able to craft another scoring opportunity. The result ends any realistic hopes Jimmy Cowan and his troops may have harboured of reaching the semi-finals.

Man of the match: Highlanders flanker Adam Thomson was at the helm of a resolute defensive performance which was let down by some poor option-taking and handling in the backs. But our vote goes to Chiefs pivot Mike Delany who put in a flawless performance for the home side. Playing on his home ground and starting his first game for the Chiefs at ten, the Bay of Plenty star proved just why he was taken along on the All Blacks end-of-year tour in 2009.

The scorers:

For Chiefs:
Tries: Donald, Lauaki, TaumaloloCons: Donald 3
Pens: Donald 2

For Highlanders:
Tries: Triggs, Vainikolo
Con: Dagg
Pens: Dagg 2
Drop: Robinson

Chiefs: 15 Mils Muliaina (c), 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Richard Kahui, 12 Stephen Donald, 11 Dwayne Sweeney, 10 Mike Delany, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Sione Lauaki, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Culum Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke, 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Sona Taumalolo.
Replacements: 16 Vern Kamo, 17 Toby Smith, 18 Jarrad Hoeata, 19 Colin Bourke 20 Junior Poluleuligaga, 21 Jackson Willison, 22 Tim Nanai-Williams.

Highlanders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Kenny Lynn, 12 Jason Shoemark, 11 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 10 Robbie Robinson, 9 Jimmy Cowan (c), 8 Steven Setephano, 7 Alando Soakai, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 Clint Newland, 2 Jason Rutledge, 1 Chris King.
Replacements: 16 Jason Macdonald, 17 Bronson Murray, 18 Joe Tuineau, 19 Tim Boys/John Hardie, 20 Sean Romans, 21 Mat Berquist, 22 James Paterson.

Referee: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Top 14
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne vs Montpellier20:45
Saturday , August 30
La Rochelle vs Toulouse14:45
Lyon vs Brive18:30
Oyonnax vs Stade Francais18:30
Castres vs Bay Of Plenty18:30
Grenoble vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulon20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , August 29
Pumas vs Sharks19:10
Saturday , August 30
Griquas vs Cheetahs15:00
Blue Bulls vs Western Province17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Lions19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury vs NorthlandCanterbury vs Northland Preview
Friday , August 29
Wellington vs ManawatuWellington vs Manawatu Preview
Saturday , August 30
Counties Manukau vs Hawkes Bay14:35
Southland vs Otago17:35
North Harbour vs Waikato19:35
Sunday , August 31
Taranaki vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
Auckland vs Tasman16:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato 17 - 46 TaranakiWaikato vs Taranaki Report
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu 7 - 35 AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Report
Bay Of Plenty 27 - 56 TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
Argentina 31 - 33 South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Brive 6 - 21 Clermont AuvergneBrive vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Stade Francais 23 - 20 Lyon
Bordeaux-Begles 30 - 21 Racing Metro Paris
Montpellier 20 - 17 GrenobleMontpellier vs Grenoble Report
Toulon 60 - 19 La Rochelle
Bayonne 38 - 12 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Blue Bulls 30 - 25 Eastern Province KingsBlue Bulls vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Sharks 19 - 16 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
Western Province 27 - 14 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Northland 35 - 5 WellingtonNorthland vs Wellington Report
Counties Manukau 29 - 25 OtagoCounties Manukau vs Otago Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse 35 - 6 CastresToulouse vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 33 - 15 GriquasPumas vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 27 - 58 CanterburyWaikato vs Canterbury Report
Hawkes Bay 29 - 26 TaranakiHawkes Bay vs Taranaki Report
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour 21 - 25 Southland
Sunday , August 17
Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
Northland 23 - 28 Manawatu
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 16
Australia 12 - 12 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
South Africa 13 - 6 ArgentinaSouth Africa vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00