Planet Rugby

Chiefs and 'Canes share the spoils

10th June 2011 08:03

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Neemia Tialata chiefs v hurricanes

Neemia Tialata: Hurricanes prop celebrated his century with a draw

The Chiefs and Hurricanes settled for an 18-18 draw in Hamilton on Friday, with both sides scoring two tries each.

Played in wet conditions, Chiefs pivot Stephen Donald had a chance to win the match at the death but his drop goal attempt was charged down, leaving Cory Jane to bang the ball into touch.

In the end, it was probably a fair result as both teams worked tirelessly throughout in a rather dire encounter hampered by rain.

The first half belonged to the Chiefs after leading 15-5 at the break. But the Hurricanes stormed back in the second half, and outscored the hosts by 13 points to three.

It's been a a turbulent week for the Hurricanes after coach Mark Hammett announced All Blacks Ma'a Nonu and Andrew Hore would not be offered contracts next season.

But both Hore and Nonu rose above their personal disappointments to play important roles in leading the Hurricanes' comeback. Hore scored the Hurricanes' only try of the first half and Nonu created a brilliant second-half try for Hosea Gear which helped tie the scores.

Aaron Cruden also landed a conversion and two penalties to complete the fightback.

For the Chiefs, Richard Kahui and Isaac Ross both scored tries, while Donald was on target with a conversion and two penalties.

The draw means the Chiefs have been left in last place in the New Zealand conference.

The Chiefs struck first when Chiefs lock Craig Clarke charged down a Cruden kick and Kahui followed through to score an opportunist try. Donald added the extras and the Chiefs led 7-0.

Donald succeeded with a penalty from 40 metres out, increasing the early advantage to 10 points inside as many minutes.

Cruden set up a prime attacking chance, stealing the ball off Chiefs winger Stitveni Sitivatu, kicking ahead and forcing a line-out inside the home side's 22.

The Chiefs' defensive screen kept them out once but not from a subsequent line-out.

Hore and lock Jeremy Thrush both drove at the line unsuccessfully, but a second thrust by the skipper saw him come up with his 19th Super Rugby try.

The next stanza of the game was mostly an arm-wrestle, before a dropped ball from the Hurricanes and another Chiefs hack ahead upfield created a scrum under the Hurricanes posts, leading directly to a try to lock Ross. Donald missed the conversion, but the Chiefs' lead was now back to 10 points at the break.

The Hurricanes drew first blood two minutes into the second half by scoring a sizzling try to Gear, created by a powerful bust by Nonu who scorched through two defenders and linked up with Jane, centre Alapati Leiua and finally Gear. Cruden added the icing with his conversion to close the score to 15-12.

Cruden made it all square at 15-15 with a penalty dead in front of the posts, bringing up his 100th point of the season in the process.

With steady rain now falling, Donald pulled the Chiefs back into the lead with a penalty.

Both sides had opportunities for more points throughout the middle stages of the second half, but another Donald penalty hit the uprights and Hurricanes winger Julian Savea put a foot in touch before crossing the tryline.

Cruden then kicked another penalty and the game was all locked up at 18-18 with 11 minutes left, but it proved to the last points scored in the match.

The scorers:

For Chiefs:
Tries: Kahui, Ross
Con: Donald
Pens: Donald 2

For Hurricanes:
Tries: Hore, Gear
Con: Cruden
Pens: Cruden 2

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

Hurricanes: 15 Cory Jane, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Alapati Leiua, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Neemia Tialata, 2 Andrew Hore (c), 1 John Schwalger.
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Jacob Ellison, 18 Jason Eaton, 19 Mark Reddish/Karl Lowe, 20 Tyson Keats, 21 Jayden Hayward, 22 Richard Buckman.

Referee: Steve Walsh

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