Super Rugby
Chiefs survive stern challenge despite ill-discipline
ESPN Staff
March 28, 2015
Report Match details
Date/Time: Mar 28, 2015, 16:30 local, 03:30 GMT
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Chiefs 37 - 27 Cheetahs
Half-time: 14 - 13
Tries: Cane, Horrell, Leitch, Messam
Cons: Cruden 4
Pens: Cruden 3
Tries: Brussow 2, Prinsloo
Cons: du Plessis, Pietersen 2
Pens: Pietersen 2
The Chiefs' Sam Cane drives Andrew Horrell over for a try, Chiefs v Cheetahs, Super Rugby, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, March 28, 2015
Sam Cane drives Andrew Horrell over for the Chiefs' bonus-point try
© Getty Images
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The Chiefs survived a stern challenge from the Cheetahs to regain winning form with a bonus-point victory, but only after they had conceded 12 penalties and received two yellow cards in the first half.

The Chiefs fell foul of referee Craig Joubert as they infringed consistently at the breakdown and as the visitors effected powerful driving mauls, and they led at the break, through converted tries from back-rowers Michael Leitch and Liam Messam against one from Boom Prinsloo and two penalty goals from Joe Pietersen, only after the Cheetahs playmaker had missed another goal before the siren. Ironically, for all their ill-discipline and a two-minute period when they had only 13 players on the pitch, with Michael Fitzgerald and Ben Tameifuna in the sin-bin, the Chiefs conceded only Prinsloo's converted try while they were undermanned. That would proved to be a key period in the fixture, as the hosts scored two converted tries when they had a one-man advantage for 10 minutes late in the second half.

The Chiefs were much better disciplined in the second half - conceding only two penalties - and the Cheetahs started to wilt, the visitors conceding five scrum penalties. The Cheetahs, nevertheless, stuck close to the Chiefs and they levelled the score at 20-20 in the 53rd minute when Heinrich Brussow capitalised on a poor attempted grubber kick from Damian McKenzie in defence to touch down a converted try under the posts.

The Chiefs overcome two yellow cards to down the Cheetahs 37-27 in Hamilton (Australia only)

The Chiefs proved increasingly more dangerous in the final quarter, with Sonny Bill Williams, McKenzie and Seta Tamanivalu each making breaks to put the hosts in threatening attacking positions. But they claimed their third try, through Sam Cane, only after his openside rival, Brussow, had been sent to the sin-bin for offside at a breakdown. The Chiefs scored a minute into their one-man advantage and Andrew Horrell claimed the bonus-point try after a sharp break from replacement half-back Augustine Pulu off a scrum just one minute before the Cheetahs flanker re-joined the action.

Brussow gained further reward for an outstanding individual performance after the siren, the flanker taking a quick tap after the Chiefs conceded their final penalty of the game.

Messam said of the Chiefs' disciplinary issues in the first half that "we'd been training a different way and fair play to the Cheetahs, they've got a fantastic maul".

"It took us a while to adapt, and I thought the boys were good in the second half."

Cheetahs captain Francois Uys said the team had changed their game plan to play a more physical game through the forwards after "doing our homework".

Uys said it was increasingly hard to play the attacking rugby for which the Cheetahs are known, and "these guys [the Chiefs] are so lethal from turnovers".

"We were very clinical but one or two scoring opportunities we didn't really finish," Uys said.

"We drove well and we scrummed well, and I'm not so sure what happened in the second half with the scrums; that was a bit disappointing but all credit to the Chiefs. They are a class outfit, and contained us going forward."

Michael Leitch was among the Chiefs' better performers © Getty Images
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