Planet Rugby

Chiefs shut out Highlanders

07th May 2011 07:58

Share:

chiefs v highlanders

Going nowhere: Jimmy Cowan is sandwiched byChiefs defenders

The Chiefs inflicted back to back defeats on the Highlanders, and kept their Super Rugby season alive with a gritty 20-7 win at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton on Saturday.

The hosts trailed 6-7 at half-time, but scored 14 unanswered points after the break to pick up a vital win on their return home from South Africa.

The Chiefs outscored the southerners two tries to one, with star flanker Liam Messam sealing the deal on the stroke of full-time. But the Highlanders only had themselves to blame, with a whopping 24 tackles missed during the course of an error-riddled match.

Injuries didn't help the Highlanders either, who first lost in-form winger Kade Poki before the match even kicked off and then his late replacement James Paterson to a shoulder injury shortly before half-time.

It got worse for the visitors after the break, when flank Adam Thomson - arguably the Highlanders' most valuable player this season - watched the rest of the match from the sidelines nursing a rib injury.

Hooker Jason Rutledge, responsible for scoring the Highlanders only try of the match, was another no-show in the second half.

Highlanders' back-up prop Bronson Murray was also forced from the field in the second forty, and was later followed by speedster Siale Piutau which left Thomson's replacement, Nick Crosswell, playing out the final minutes of the match on the wing.

The Chiefs suffered an injury blow of their own after flank Scott Waldrom was helped off the field in some pain during the second half.

Rutledge gave the Highlanders an early lead with his try after nine minutes, created by a brilliant side-step and explosive attacking run by fly-half Lima Sopoaga. When Sopoaga split open the Chiefs' defence, Rutledge was in support out wide and took the pivot's floating pass to score under the posts.

Having missed an earlier penalty attempt, Robbie Robinson raised the flags from bang in front with his ensuing conversion.

The Highlanders remained dominant for the first 30 minutes, forcing repeated turnovers with strong counter-rucking which has been their forte this season. But handling errors prevented them from capitalising on attacking opportunities and allowed the Chiefs to fight their way back into the match courtesy of two Stephen Donald penalties.

The Chiefs also regained parity at the breakdown with a physical effort in the final minutes of the first half, but the visitors managed to hang on for a one-point lead at half-time.

The home side made the perfect start to the second half, dominating both territory and possession, which resulted in a try to scrum-half Brendon Leonard who burrowed his way over from close-range.

The Highlanders' pattern frayed with repeated personnel changes, while the Chiefs were also guilty of squandering attacking chances through handling errors and Donald was one of the principal offenders.

After missing a penalty which would have given the Chiefs the comfort of a nine-point lead after 56 minutes, he dropped a difficult pass with the line open only minutes later. He also threw a number of poor passes which took the edge off attacking movements.

Just six points down and with a handful of minutes of the match remaining, the Highlanders were miraculously still in with a shout after Chiefs centre Dwayne Sweeney also failed to find his target at goal.

However, the Chiefs wrapped up a deserved victory one minute from the final whistle when hard-working Messam finished off repeated assaults at the Highlanders' line with a well-earned try.

The scorers:

For Chiefs:
Tries: Leonard, Messam
Cons: Donald, Nanai-Williams
Pen: Donald 2

For Highlanders:
Try: Rutledge
Con: Robinson

Chiefs: 15 Mils Muliaina (c), 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Richard Kahui, 12 Dwayne Sweeney, 11 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Scott Waldrom, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Romana Graham, 4 Craig Clarke, 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Aled de Malmanche, 17 Sona Taumalolo, 18 Isaac Ross, 19 Tanerau Latimer, 20 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 21 Tim Nanai-Williams, 22 Jackson Willison.

Highlanders: 15 Robbie Robinson, 14 James Paterson, 13 Kendrick Lynn, 12 Ben Smith, 11 Siale Piutau, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Alando Soakai, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Chris King, 2 Jason Rutledge, 1 Jamie Mackintosh (c).
Replacements: 16 Brayden Mitchell, 17 Bronson Murray, 18 Tom Donnelly, 19 Nick Crosswell, 20 Aaron Smith, 21 Matt Saunders, 22 John Hardie.

Referees: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
Argentina vs South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Preview
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , August 23
Brive vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Toulon vs La Rochelle18:30
Bordeaux-Begles vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Montpellier vs GrenobleMontpellier vs Grenoble Preview
Bayonne vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Lyon20:45
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne vs Montpellier20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , August 23
Blue Bulls vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
Western Province vs Lions17:05
Sharks vs Cheetahs19:10
Friday , August 29
Pumas vs Sharks19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu vs AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Preview
Bay Of Plenty vs TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Preview
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato vs Taranaki19:35
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury vs Northland19:35
Friday , August 29
Wellington vs Manawatu09:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
More Rugby Championship 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
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 30 - 26 GrenobleClermont Auvergne vs Grenoble Report
Castres 22 - 25 Stade Francais
Bordeaux-Begles 18 - 9 Lyon
Montpellier 16 - 19 Racing Metro ParisMontpellier vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Brive 37 - 15 La Rochelle
Toulouse 20 - 19 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Lions 60 - 19 Eastern Province KingsLions vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Western Province 41 - 17 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
Cheetahs 34 - 27 GriquasCheetahs vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Otago 28 - 14 North Harbour
Canterbury 48 - 9 AucklandCanterbury vs Auckland Report
Wellington 25 - 37 WaikatoWellington vs Waikato Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 15
Bayonne 15 - 29 ToulonBayonne vs Toulon Report
More Top 14 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00