Sun, Apr 05, 2015 - Page 20 News List

Chiefs come from behind to down Auckland Blues

AFP, HAMILTON, New Zealand

Central Cheetahs flanker Boom Prinsloo, right, runs with the ball as ACT Brumbies No. 8 Jarrad Butler prepares to make a tackle during their game at the GIO Stadium in Canberra yesterday.

Photo: AFP

The Waikato Chiefs had to come from behind to beat the Auckland Blues 23-16 in an untidy Super 15 encounter at Waikato Stadium yesterday.

The Chiefs looked to be running away with the game when they were up 10-0 inside the first 30 minutes only to find themselves down 13-10 early in the second half.

However, for the Blues, it was a fleeting taste of being ahead that evaporated within five minutes when Aaron Cruden leveled the scores with a penalty before Tom Marshall scored the game-breaking try.

Chiefs captain Liam Messam said he knew when the Blues put their nose in front that his side needed to regain control urgently.

“We tried to use our forwards to do that and we got control back,” he said. “The backs made some great decisions to put the ball down there and put them under pressure and that came off well for us.”

It was the Chiefs’ ninth consecutive win over their neighbors, but it was performance neither side would be happy with.

The Chiefs reined in the high infringement rate that has seen them heavily penalized in recent weeks, but instead they suffered from a misfiring line-out and gave up an abundance of turnovers.

The Blues were guilty of falling off tackles and also losing possession in the rucks.

It took the Chiefs until the 18th minute to get their first points, with Cruden kicking a penalty after the All Blacks pivot was astray with his first two attempts.

Once under way, it looked as if the floodgates were about to open as the Chiefs attacked.

Augustine Pulu went close to scoring to start a sustained Chiefs attack on the Blues line that ended with a try to James Lowe.

The superior Chiefs forwards were driving through the Blues pack, but let themselves down with poor ball control, which led to Auckland fly-half Dan Bowden landing penalty to have the Chiefs ahead 10-3 at the turn.

The Blues had one good try-scoring chance in the first spell, but turned the ball over just meters from the line on the stroke of halftime.

They were more assured after the resumption, with Jerome Kaino opening the half with a try off the back of a 5m scrum.

Bowden landed the conversion and a penalty to put the Blues ahead before Cruden leveled the scores with his second penalty.

Mike Leitch then set up the decisive try with a breakout from inside his own 22 that ended with Tom Marshall touching down.

Cruden and Blues replacement fly-half Ihaia West exchanged penalties in the closing minutes.

In Canberra, the ACT Brumbies bounced back from a loss last time out by easily brushing aside the Cheetahs of South Africa 20-3.

Christian Leali’ifano and lock Blake Enever scored tries for the Brumbies, who should have added more but for their own errors on the Cheetahs’ line and some scrambling defense by the Bloemfontein-based outfit.

Leali’ifano also added 10 points with the boot to keep the Brumbies top of the Australian Conference following their fifth win of the campaign.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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