Planet Rugby

Chiefs defend Super Rugby title

03rd August 2013 10:20

Share:

Liam Messam Chiefs celebrates full time Super Rugby Final v Brumbies 2013

Man of the Match: Liam Messam

The Chiefs secured back-to-back Super Rugby titles on Saturday with a 27-22 win over the Brumbies in a thrilling final at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton.

The Chiefs join an elite club of four - along with the Blues, Crusaders and Bulls - as the only sides to have successfully defended the crown since the creation of SANZAR in 1996.

Victory didn't come easily though as the Brumbies held the lead for most of the game, only to run out of steam in the closing stages.

The Brumbies led 16-9 at the interval thanks to an intercept try on the stroke of half-time from centre Christian Lealiifano, who score all of his side's points.

The match went right down to the wire with Chiefs flank Liam Messam and replacement full-back Robbie Robinson scoring tries in the final quarter to give the defending champions the lead for the first time in the 69th minute.

Much was made of the travel factor before kick-off and the Brumbies' hectic schedule over the past fortnight ultimately turned out to be their undoing.

Credit to the Chiefs though, who turned up the pace in the last twenty minutes to wrestle the initiative away from Jake White's team with some fantastic attacking play after patiently defending during long periods of Brumbies pressure.

Lealiifano opened the scoring early on for the Brumbies when Toby Smith was penalised for a high tackle. The Wallaby centre soon extended the lead to 6-0 when Asaeli Tikoirotuma was pinged for a side entry, capping a strong start for the visitors.

Aaron Cruden missed a sitter to leave Chiefs with nothing to show for a prolonged period of possession and the error was punished almost immediately as Lealiifano hit the target again - after Tanerau Latimer played Scott Sio off the ball - to leave the Brumbies 9-0 up at the end of first quarter.

The Chiefs finally got onto the scoreboard when Cruden split the uprights after Scott Fardy went off his feet. The home fly-half soon doubled his tally, after Sam Carter didn't roll away at a ruck, to cut the gap to three.

Cruden levelled the scores around the half-hour mark after Nick White conceded the Brumbies' third consecutive ruck penalty as referee Craig Joubert stamped his authority on the game.

The Brumbies would take a seven-point lead into the break however thanks to Lealiifano's intercept. Tawera Kerr-Barlow threw a high, looping pass which Hika Elliot fumbled. Lealiifano collected the ball and raced home for the game's first try.

The inside centre converted his try to close an intense opening 40 minutes with the Brumbies 16-9 up.

Fardy and George Smith combined to force Kerr-Barlow to hang on and concede the first penalty of the second half, which Lealiifano duly slotted. But Cruden replied in kind after White doesn't release Tikoirotuma, leaving the gap at seven points.

Cruden missed another very kickable penalty but made up for it with a try-saving tackle on Clyde Rathbone. The Chiefs survived a TMO call after the Brumbies pack rumbled over the line but Lealiifano added another three-pointer, after Latimer hit a ruck from the side, to take a ten-point lead into the final quarter.

The Chiefs stormed back into contention though when Messam broke off a scrum and muscled his way past three defenders to score. But again Cruden was off target with a shocker of a conversion attempt to leave the hosts trailing by five at 22-17.

The momentum was now with the home side and Robinson could sprint home for the Chiefs' second try after a great initial break from Bundee Aki, with Tikoirotuma supplying the link.

This time Cruden was successful with the conversion to finally put the Chiefs in front at 24-22 with just over ten minutes to play.

Fardy was off his feet at a ruck to allow Cruden to stretch the lead to five and that's how it would remain after Jesse Mogg failed to find touch with a late penalty.

Man of the match: A mention first for Christian Lealiifano, who was the standout performer for the Brumbies, scoring 22 points. But we agree with the official gong going to Liam Messam, who wins the award for the second straight year. His try turned the tide in the Chiefs' favour.

Moment of the match: Chiefs still had plenty of work to do with 13 minutes left on the clock, but Robbie Robinson's match-winning try took the wind out of the Brumbies' sails.

Villain of the match: No nasty stuff to report.

The scorers:

For Chiefs:
Tries: Messam, Robinson
Con: Cruden
Pens: Cruden 5

For Brumbies:
Try: Lealiifano
Con: Lealiifano
Pens: Lealiifano 5

Chiefs: 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Andrew Horrell, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Matt Vant Leven, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Ben Afeaki, 18 Michael Fitzgerald, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Augustine Pulu, 21 Bundee Aki, 22 Robbie Robinson.

Brumbies:15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Clyde Rathbone, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen (c), 7 George Smith, 6 Peter Kimlin, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Scott Fardy, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 Fotu Auelua, 19 Colby Faingaa, 20 Ian Prior, 21 Andrew Smith, 22 Joe Tomane.

Venue: Waikato Stadium, HamiltonReferee: Craig Joubert
Assistant referees: Chris Pollock; Garrat Williamson
TMO: Vinny Munro

By Ross Hastie

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London IrishNorthampton vs London Irish Preview
Newcastle vs SaracensNewcastle vs Saracens Preview
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Heineken Cup
Saturday , April 26
Saracens vs Clermont Auvergne15:40
More Heineken Cup fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Sunday , April 20
Cardiff Blues vs ScarletsCardiff Blues vs Scarlets Preview
Newport Gwent D'gons vs OspreysNewport Gwent D
Saturday , April 26
Glasgow vs Edinburgh19:05
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Amlin Challenge Cup
Friday , April 25
Northampton vs Harlequins20:00
More Amlin Challenge Cup fixtures
Super Rugby
Friday , April 25
Blues vs Waratahs17:35
Brumbies vs Chiefs17:40
Sharks vs Highlanders19:10
Saturday , April 26
Hurricanes vs Reds19:35
Western Force vs Bulls17:40
Cheetahs vs Stormers17:05
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , April 19
Bath 32 - 20 WorcesterBath vs Worcester Report
Exeter 12 - 55 SaleExeter vs Sale Report
Wasps 38 - 30 GloucesterWasps vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Zebre 26 - 13 EdinburghZebre vs Edinburgh Report
Connacht 23 - 32 MunsterConnacht vs Munster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Oyonnax 19 - 19 ToulouseOyonnax vs Toulouse Report
Perpignan 31 - 46 ToulonPerpignan vs Toulon Report
Racing Metro Paris 22 - 6 Clermont AuvergneRacing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Stade Francais 37 - 23 Bordeaux-Begles
Grenoble 21 - 21 Bayonne
Biarritz 19 - 13 Brive
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 17 - 18 CrusadersChiefs vs Crusaders Report
Stormers 18 - 3 LionsStormers vs Lions Report
Sharks 19 - 8 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
Waratahs 19 - 12 BullsWaratahs vs Bulls Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins 24 - 20 LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Leinster 62 - 7 Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Report
Glasgow 27 - 9 UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Castres 22 - 15 MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 39 - 20 BluesHurricanes vs Blues Report
Melbourne Rebels 22 - 16 Western Force
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Bath2064
4Leicester Tigers2064
5Harlequins2058