Chiefs scalped by Hurricanes
March 18, 2000
In a frenzied struggle in Hamilton,the Hurricanes hang on for a narrow away victory, 24-19.
In a Hamilton heatwave the Hurricanes this afternoon drew upon all their resources of fitness and courage in defence to repel the onslaught of the Waikato Chiefs.
Outweighed in the forwards by an average of eight kilos per man, and further disadvantaged by the early injury to back row forward Matua Parkinson, they were never short of technique and finesse.
Darryl Lilley was a superb replacement for the suspended Tana Umaga , taking over the kicking duties from David Holwell he scored 14 points.Holwell did more than his fair share in defence, Spice was a live wire at half back and Ieremia and O'Halloran solid and inventive in midfield.Waller, Yates and Vanisi were in outstanding form amongst the forwards.
The Chiefs will be delighted with the form and fitness of All Black lock Royce Willis, playing his first Super 12 match for over a year.He lasted the whole 80 minutes and was prominent in the tight and loose.
The Chiefs got the better of the early exchanges , a Jackson penalty and Maka try , converted by Jackson, to a Lilley penalty.In the second quarter Lilley struck some consistency, kicking two penalties and converting Alama Ieremia's try.Full back Christian Cullen also scored a try during this period.
Ahead 21-13 at the break, the Hurricanes did not score again until Lilley kicked his fourth penalty in the 80th minute.Much of the play was spectacularly frenzied , the Chiefs never quite able to get on level terms again.Jackson kicked two more penalties , and the Chiefs hammered away at the Hurricanes' line for the final four minutes, without looking like breaking down a determined defence.
The Chiefs will be disappointed to have lost ground after their away win against the Blues.The Hurricanes re-affirmed that they are a force in Super 12 2000, but on this occasion it was the quality of their forwards that was the telling factor.