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Chiefs stay top of Super Rugby with comeback win over Bulls

Date

Chiefs 28 Bulls 22

Lelia Masaga of the Chiefs sneaks past Wynand Olivier of the Bulls.

Lelia Masaga of the Chiefs sneaks past Wynand Olivier of the Bulls. Photo: Getty Images

The Chiefs surged to the top of the Super Rugby ladder on Friday after a late try saw off the the Bulls 28-22 in Hamilton.

MATCH STATS

The Chiefs scored three tries to one in a tightly contested match in which the lead changed six times, coming back from a lacklustre first half to outscore the Bulls 20-6 after the break.

The Bulls' rolling maul and Morne Steyn's boot kept the dogged South Africans within touching distance but a Sam Cane try 10 minutes from time proved decisive.

"We're thrilled that we could kick on in a very tight game," Chiefs captain Craig Clarke said.

"We didn't want to play a controlled, structured sort of game, that's more their style, we wanted to up the tempo a little bit."

The loss cost the Bulls a chance of overhauling the Western Stormers in the South African conference and their arch-rivals can draw level with the Chiefs in the overall standings with a win over the Coastal Sharks on Sunday.

Skipper Pierre Spies said that while he regarded two wins on the Bulls' four-match tour as a good return, he was frustrated Friday's match slipped away.

"They put us under pressure at the breakdown and we couldn't get our game going, then they got that try," he said.

"We thought we had a chance but that try made it very difficult for us."

The opening stages were fast-moving but mistake-ridden, with the scores locked on 3-3 after a penalty apiece after 15 minutes as defence dominated.

The Bulls' renowned forward pack twice threatened to set up tries through rolling mauls but could not break through and Steyn eventually settled for a drop goal on 22 minutes.

The Chiefs hit back against the run of play when Akona Ndungane spilled a speculative Aaron Cruden kick and opened the way for Andrew Horrell to soccer the ball over the line then touch down for a try.

Cruden tried the same tactic five minutes later but the Bulls' defence was alive to the danger and the South Africans again built pressure through the forwards, earning a penalty which Steyn kicked from 45 metres out.

Winger Bjorn Basson scored his eighth try of the season from the back of a Bulls' maul just before half time, outpacing Lelia Masaga for the five-pointer with Steyn adding the conversion to make it 16-8 at the break.

The Chiefs lifted after the restart, narrowing the gap to 14-19 as they notched two penalties to one, then taking the lead after Asaeli Tikoirotuma crossed with a slick move from a set piece off the scrum.

But the Chiefs immediately surrendered the advantage with a soft penalty, gifting Steyn his fourth penalty to make it 22-21.

The New Zealanders continued to run the ball and Cane brought the home crowd to life 10 minutes from time, latching onto a Sonny Bill Williams offload for the Chiefs' third try.

A Cruden penalty extended the lead to 28-22 and the Bulls could not break through before the clock ran down.

CHIEFS 28 (Sam Cane, Andrew Horrell, Aseli Tikoirotuma tries Aaron Cruden 2 cons 3 pens) bt BULLS 22 (Bjorn Basson try Morne Steyn con 4 pens drop goal) at Waikato Stadium. Referee: Mark Lawrence.

AFP

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00Olym
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00Olym
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45Olym
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45Olym
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00Olym
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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