Chiefs snatch late draw in Pretoria
March 29, 2014
The Chiefs scored three late tries to earn a draw in Pretoria (video available in Australia only)
The Chiefs scored three tries in the last 10 minutes to snatch a 34-34 draw with the Bulls in a thrilling Super Rugby game at Pretoria.
Replacement fullback Gareth Anscombe landed the sideline conversion of an 80th minute try from Aaron Cruden to complete a remarkable comeback from 31-15 down late in the game. The two-time defending champions also ended a run of six successive losses in Pretoria dating back to 2001.
Outplayed up front, the visitors still scored five tries to three, playing some sumptuous attacking rugby to counter the forward-based approach of a Bulls side that had won their previous three games - all at Loftus Versfeld.
The Chiefs were more cohesive than in their 18-15 loss to the Western Force in Perth last week, a result which ended a three-win start to their season. A team featuring seven starting changes started brightly, going 12-3 ahead through tries to fullback Mils Muliaina and flanker Liam Messam before the Bulls pack took control.
The home side won the middle two quarters 28-3, built on tries to flanker Deon Stegmann, wing Bjorn Basson, a penalty try and the goalkicking boot of first five-eighth Jacques-Louis Potgeiter, who finished with 19 points. The Bulls lineout and scrum were a class above. Driving mauls led to Stegmann's try and the penalty try, which also resulted in a yellow card to Chiefs lock Matt Symons for collapsing the maul.
A sweeping 80m team move sent Anscombe over to spark the late Chiefs' surge. Potgeiter landed a fifth penalty to put the Bulls 34-22 up with 5min to play, before Symons drove over and wing Asaeli Tikoirotuma broke on the halfway line to set up co-captain Aaron Cruden's try in the left corner.
"The boys showed a lot of character and they can be proud of the last 15 minutes," Cruden said. "We tried to play tempo and move the Bulls team around. We did that at times pretty well but silly handling errors and not treasuring the pill cost us at times."