Cruden leads Chiefs to Newlands victory

Date published: March 14 2015

The Chiefs inflicted the Stormers' first defeat of the Super Rugby season, winning 28-19 in Cape Town on Saturday.

In a pulsating encounter, the former champions outscored their hosts three tries to one with fly-half Aaron Cruden chipping in with 18 points, scoring a try and setting up another along the way.

The result moves the Chiefs level with the Hurricanes at the top of the New Zealand conference, two points behind the tournament-leading Brumbies in the overall standings. The Stormers are two points further adrift.

In front of crowd of over 42 000, the Stormers led 16-13 at the interval.

The sides scored a try apiece in a hotly-contested first half marked by the Stormers' scrum dominance and some fierce counter-attacking from the Chiefs.

The trend changed drastically in the second half though as the Chiefs' set-piece made a comeback, allowing the visitors to take the game by the scruff of the neck, scoring two unanswered tries after the break.

Cruden opened the scoring from the tee early on following a ruck infringement, but his opposite number Kurt Coleman levelled the scores on the 15-minute mark with his second attempt at goal after the visitors were caught offside.

The Stormers were first to cross the whitewash. With Sonny Bill Williams off the field for a concussion test, Damian de Allende sliced through midfield to put Kobus van Wyk away. It was the second time in the space of a few minutes that the Stormers centre had slipped through the Chiefs defensive curtain, but it would not happen again.

Coleman extended his lead to 13-3 from a penalty for obstruction, but the Chiefs replied as Bryce Heem handed Cheslin Kolbe off like a rag doll before offloading inside to Cruden, who cruised home. The All Black fly-half – who had been on the receiving end of a handful of thundering hits – converted his try to narrow the gap to three points.

The Chiefs scrum was being smashed at every engagement and Coleman was duly allowed to add three points when the visitors' set-piece folded.

The Chiefs were first to strike after the break though, as an excellent backline move ended with Cruden offloading to James Lowe, who sprinted round to finish behind the poles.

Cruden's conversion took the scores to 20-16 in favour of the Kiwi side and the home team were struggling to get out of their half.

Having seen their side hammer the Chiefs at scrum time, the home crowd were shocked when Vincent Koch was penalised for dropping his bind. Cruden hit the target with the penalty but Demetri Catrakilis replied in kind after SBW didn't release on the deck to restore the four-point gap.

The introduction of Jamie Mackintosh had completely changed the dynamic at scrum time but Cruden was off-target when another Chiefs scrum penalty could have stretched the lead.

The Chiefs took their next chance with both hands however, as Sam Cane somehow managed to get the ball down in the corner despite the best efforts of a gaggle of Stormers defenders.

The home side never realistically looked like closing the gap, as the Chiefs shut their belated attacks down.

The scorers:

For the Stormers:
Try: Van Wyk
Con: Coleman
Pens: Coleman 3, Catrakilis

For the Chiefs:
Tries: Cruden, Lowe, Cane
Cons: Cruden 2
Pens: Cruden 3

Stormers: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Duane Vermeulen (c), 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Alistair Vermaak, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Ruan Botha, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Demetri Catrakilis, 23 Huw Jones.

Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Tim Nanai-Williams, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Michael Fitzgerald, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Siate Tokolahi, 18 Jamie Mackintosh, 19 Michael Allardice, 20 Maama Vaipulu, 21 Augustine Pulu, 22 Andrew Horrell, 23 Tom Marshall.

Venue: Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

By Ross Hastie at Newlands