The Chiefs staged a brilliant second half comeback to beat the Cheetahs 22-20 in a Super 14 match at Hamilton.
Foxsports reports that the Cheetahs looked to have the game sewn up when they raced to a 17-0 lead at halftime but the Chiefs suddenly turned things around.
The Chiefs scored three unanswered tries in the second half to get within striking distance of the Cheetahs before flyhalf Stephen Donald kicked a late penalty to seal their second win of the year.
“The boys gutsed it out,” Waikato captain Mils Muliaina said. “They (the Cheetahs) were very physical and they showed at 17-0 that we were out for a fight. I’m just glad we got there in the end.”
The Cheetahs, who are yet to win after four rounds of the season, made a perfect start when winger Eddie Fredericks scored in the 12th minute before Conrad Barnard converted and added a penalty.
Luck seemed to be against the Chiefs when Donald missed his first three penalty attempts and scrumhalf Brendon Leonard was held up over the line.
The Cheetahs extended their lead with a classic counter-attacking try from winger Jongi Nokwe but the long trek from South Africa started to take its toll in the second half as they began to fatigue.
Leonard was awarded a try shortly after the restart then winger Sitiveni Sivivatu burst down the left side to score and narrow the gap to three points.
Barnard kicked a second penalty to briefly calm the Cheetahs’ nerves but the Chiefs continued to attack in the final minutes.
Centre Callum Bruce scored out wide to cut the margin to a single point. Donald missed the conversion but made no mistake when he was gifted another chance after Fredericks was penalised for a high tackle on reserve winger Lelia Masaga.
The Chiefs are at home again next week against the Stormers, also of South Africa. The Cheetahs travel to Christchurch to face the Canterbury Crusaders.Tweet