Chiefs hold on to edge Crusaders in nailbiter
Fri, 27 Jul 2012 9:12p.m.
The Chiefs held on to topple Super Rugby playoff masters the Crusaders 20-17 and book a place in just their second final.
A brutal, nerve-jangling semi-final at Waikato Stadium on Friday night was won by a more desperate Chiefs side, who harried their fancied rivals into mistakes while scoring two tries to one.
They held onto a three-point lead over the final quarter and a capacity crowd of 25,000 heaved a sigh of relief when Crusaders first five-eighth Dan Carter missed a chance to send the game into extra time with a stray long-range penalty.
Sonny Bill Williams, playing against his former team, showed what a loss he will be to New Zealand rugby.
His display of power running was a standout while the Chiefs pack stood strong in some brutal exchanges up front after being eclipsed when the teams last met three weeks ago.
They were stinging in defence, an area where the Crusaders were unusually poor, failing to handle the bursts of Williams and slick first five-eighth Aaron Cruden.
Cruden and Carter traded early penalties before prop Sona Taumalolo gave the Chiefs a lead in the 26th minute that they weren't to relinquish, burrowing over in typical style for his ninth try of the campaign.
Flanker Liam Messam was the recipient of a super Williams offload to storm over soon afterwards and it took a try to centre Ryan Crotty on the stroke of halftime to keep the visitors in the game at 17-11 down.
Carter's two penalties after the break pulled them closer while Cruden slotted a lone penalty in the second spell.
It was just the third appearance in a semi-final for the Chiefs, compared to the 14th for the Crusaders.
The Crusaders have now reached the semi-finals for four straight years but failed to add to their seven championships.
The Chiefs must now await the outcome of the all-South African semi-final in Cape Town on Sunday morning (NZT) to learn the opposition and venue for next weekend's final.
They will play either the top-qualifying Stormers in Cape Town or will host the Sharks.
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28/07/2012 6:15:47 p.m.
Cruden was all over Carter. Made carter look like an amateur, especially when Carter missed tackles (on Cruden) and had a woeful game with the boot. Who kicks the ball dead when trying to find touch on a penalty! I wonder who will be wearing the no. 10 come Rugby Championship time........
28/07/2012 3:46:49 p.m.
chifefs all the way wrote:
yea chiefs one more win
27/07/2012 11:22:22 p.m.
woohoo!! Congratz Chiefs..u deserve that..one more big effort guys..ALL DA BEST
27/07/2012 9:26:44 p.m.
Kiran Kataria wrote:
What a great game!!! Well played Chiefs!!!!
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