All Blacks flyhalf Aaron Cruden helped create, then convert, Charlie Ngatai’s try with 11 minutes remaining to give the defending champion Chiefs a 21-19 win over the Highlanders yesterday.
The Waikato Chiefs came from behind in a match which saw four lead changes to post their second straight win at the start of a season.
The Highlanders were leading 19-14 when flanker Liam Squire split their defensive line with a rampaging run. From the breakdown, Cruden put in a pinpoint cross-field kick which found winger Asaeli Tikoirotuma, who turned the ball infield for Ngatai to score.
STORMERS 19, HURRICANES 18
The Stormers squeezed past the Hurricanes with a 77th-minute try from Deon Fourie and a match-winning conversion from Demetri Catrakilis in Super Rugby on Friday.
Flanker Fourie piled over from a rolling maul in the final few minutes to bring the Stormers back from 12-6 down at halftime for their opening win of the season. The Hurricanes slipped to 0-2 after fading in the second 40 at Newlands for their second straight loss in South Africa.
The Hurricanes had struck for two lightning-quick tries in the opening 40 after sucking up some sustained mid-half pressure from the home team.
The first came when All Blacks center Conrad Smith stepped of his left foot and carved through the defense, then fed T.J. Perenara who put in an angled chip kick for left wing Julian Savea to collect and score near the corner.
Hadleigh Parkes set up right wing Cory Jane with another clever kick across the field four minutes later and Jane dived to take the ball and slide over the tryline in one motion for the second of two slick scores.
The Stormers ground their way back, mainly through the boot of flyhalf Catrakilis, who kicked 14 points in all including his winning conversion from outside on the right for a narrow win. Fourie was in among a pack of Stormers forwards who piled over in the 77th to steal victory.
WARATAHS 32, REDS 5
Wallabies fullback Israel Folau followed a first round hat-trick with a second round double as the New South Wales Waratahs beat the Queensland Reds in the Super 15 rugby tournament Saturday.
Winger Peter Betham and center Kurtley Beale also scored tries as New South Wales banked their second four-try bonus point.
FORCE 14, BRUMBIES 27
Scott Fardy, Robbie Coleman and Jesse Mogg scored tries as the Brumbies easily beat the Force.