The Chiefs have scrapped through to a tough victory over the Brumbies 19-17 in New Plymouth tonight.
Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie was pleased with the victory but said there was a lot of frustration in the coaching box throughout the game.
The Brumbies played their typical attacking brand of rugby early, stringing together multiple phases in the first three minutes before being handed a penalty as the Chiefs defender was offside.
Christian Lealiifano slotted the penalty to give the Brumbies an early 3-0 lead.
The Brumbies chose to continue the attack, opting to kick for the line rather than take three points.
Solid defense kept the Brumbies out but further offsides kept Steve Walsh on the whistle frequently throughout the first half.
When the Brumbies were penalised, Aaron Cruden kicked the Chiefs first points of the game to even the scores.
Nic White took on long kicking duties and kicked the Brumbies back into the lead 6-3.
The Chiefs showed why their back line can strike at any moment when quick passing led to Charlie Ngatai showing his pace and strength, breaking through four tackles to get the Chiefs first and only try of the match.
The try was thanks large in part to an offload by James Lowe which left a slight gap for Ngatai to run through.
Cruden converted the try and the Chiefs led 10-6.
The Brumbies quickly bounced back off a driving maul, with Scott Sio powering himself down to get the Brumbies back in front.
The Chiefs were awarded a penalty and Aaron Cruden converted to put the Chiefs back in front going into half time.
The second half was a back and fourth affair after Cruden kicked the Chiefs further in front but once again offsides and ill discipline at ruck time kept the Brumbies penalties coming.
Lealiifano kicked the ball through the sticks twice to give the Brumbies the lead 13-17 with precious minutes left on the clock.
Needing a try to get back in it, the Chiefs couldn’t find the same fluidity in their attacking game and failed to make any leeway.
When Aaron Cruden kicked a penalty to take the Chiefs to within one point, the Brumbies tried to close out the match but the innovative plays by the Chiefs back line saw the men from the Waikato knocking on the door of the try line as the full time hooter approached.
The Brumbies then gave away a penalty to allow the Chiefs’s main playmaker Aaron Cruden the opportunity to steal the match.
Cruden kicked his fifth straight goal to hand the Chiefs a late comeback win.
The Chiefs beat the Brumbies 19-17, but it has to be said a fairly average performance against a far superior forward back on the night.
The Chiefs lead the New Zealand conference in Super Rugby and will play the Crusaders next week in Hamilton.