The Waikato Chiefs overcame a 17-point halftime deficit and capitalized on a controversial penalty try and yellow card to upset the highly touted Stormers 30-23 in their Super rugby clash at Waikato Stadium yesterday.
The Chiefs, who were 20-3 down at the break, scored 17 unanswered points at the beginning of the second half, which was sparked by a penalty try awarded by referee Stuart Dickinson when Richard Kahui was pushed in the back by Gio Aplon, while diving for the bouncing ball in the in-goal area.
Aplon was also sin-binned for his push and the Chiefs added a second try by Sitiveni Sivivatu, while Stephen Donald slotted a penalty to tie the score at 20-20, all while the Stormers winger was off the field.
“We had a patch in the first half, about 10 minutes, when they piled on points, but to our credit we came out and really wanted to finish well and I’m absolutely stoked,” said Chiefs captain Mils Muliaina, who was playing his 100th Super Rugby match. “For the boys to cap it like this, 100 [caps], is absolutely outstanding.”
After a tentative opening 10 minutes in which Donald had slotted a penalty for the Chiefs, the Stormers clicked into gear and marched down field to give flyhalf Peter Grant the opportunity to slot two penalties and take the lead.
The South African side then scored two well-worked tries — the first by the busy Aplon, whose angle back off his wing opened up the defense and he then chopped past three defenders off his left foot to score. Stormers captain Schalk Burger then dove over after a well-controlled rolling maul from an attacking lineout.
Grant converted both to give the visitors their handy 20-3 lead.
However, the Chiefs reversed the momentum immediately after the break with Donald converting Kahui and Sivivatu’s tries, before adding his second penalty to make it 20-20 just as Aplon returned to the field.
Grant slotted his third penalty, before Chiefs flanker Liam Messam smashed over following a sustained buildup from deep to give the home side the lead for the first time, which Donald extended with his third penalty.
“The second half was pretty disgusting, we couldn’t keep our hands on the ball and keep it through phases and [they scored] two breakaway tries,” Stormers captain Schalk Burger said. “So it put us under pressure and we couldn’t recover from that.”
LIONS 29, BRUMBIES 20
The bottom-placed Lions of South Africa used a controversial sin-binning to help inspire them to a 29-20 victory over the ACT Brumbies in their Super Rugby clash yesterday.
The Lions were trailing 10-0 when tighthead prop Patric Cilliers was sin-binned on the advice of the assistant referee for a late, dangerous tackle on Brumbies’ scrumhalf Josh Valentine, although replays indicated the tackle was neither late nor dangerous.
The South African side, inspired by flyhalf Elton Jantjies and their combative forward pack, then scored 22 unanswered points to give them enough of a buffer to snatch their second win of the season.
“We gave away penalties, the game went slow and we let them back into it and for whatever reason it just seemed like we were pretty flat, I don’t know what can you say,” said Brumbies captain Matt Giteau, who was playing his 100th Super Rugby game. “We lost a lot of ball at the breakdown and everyone was looking for tries and we got away from the simple stuff we were doing well … and we just slipped away.”