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Chiefs second half comeback stuns Stormers

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Article Published: Saturday 14 May 2011|

The Chiefs staged a second half comeback to beat the Stormers 30-23 in Hamilton after a poor first half performance.

The Stormers were outstanding in the first half and led 3-20 at half time after a brilliant try by Gio Aplon and another by Schalk Burger.

The loss was the Stormers third of the season and follows a loss last week to the Crusaders who the Chiefs face next week.

The result puts the Stormers under pressure in the South African conference as they lead the Sharks by a point and face away matches against the Blues, Brumbies and Rebels.

The turning point in the match came shortly after half time when Richard Kahui kicked ahead and was interfered with in the try zone by Gio Aplon and a penalty try was awarded.

The Chiefs followed the penalty try up with another try by Sitiveni Sivivatu which brought the Chiefs to within three points.

Stormers winger Gio Aplon was hero and villain, scoring a brilliant first-half try - arguably the best of the season - to help build an imposing lead, then conceding a penalty try to spark the Chiefs' comeback in the second period.

Aplon scored a modern rarity, a try from a set piece, in the 18th minute.

He received the ball from a scrum on halfway and weaved through the tackles of All Blacks Brendon Leonard and Mils Muliaina for the first of the Stormers' two tries.

But his clumsy bodycheck on All Blacks center Richard Kahui in the third minute of the second half gave up a penalty try, earned 10 minutes in the sin-bin, and led to a three-try, 27-point turnaround for the Chiefs.

The Cape Town-based Stormers have fashioned the best defensive record in the tournament this season, conceding only 49 second-half points in their previous 10 matches.

But they conceded 27 in the second half on Saturday to slip to their third loss from 11 games, their second in succession.

The Stormers seemed to have the game in safe-keeping when they forged a 20-3 lead in a dominant opening. Aplon's brilliant solo try put them up 13-3 before captain Schalk Burger's try extended the advantage.

Every element of the Stormers' game functioned well in the first half. They split the Chiefs' defense with a series of rolling mauls, including the one from which Burger scored, and their defense was smothering.

Flyhalf Peter Grant returned from a lengthy injury layoff to resume his prolific points-scoring. He was the first player in the tournament to reach 100 points this season and he picked up where he left off with two penalties and two conversions in the first half.

Though Grant kept a clean sheet on Saturday, kicking five goals from five attempts, he was able to add only one second-half penalty, which provided his team's only points after the interval.

The Chiefs' fading hopes of winning the match were revived when they were awarded a penalty try in the third minute of the second half.

All Blacks center Richard Kahui pursued a kick into the Stormers' in-goal area and Aplon snatched at his jersey in a neck-and-neck race for possession.

Australian referee Stuart Dickinson consulted the video referee before deciding Aplon's check on Kahui merited a penalty try.

He also sin-binned Aplon and, in the winger's absence, All Blacks winger Sitiveni Sivivatu scored a second try for the Chiefs, which cut the lead to 20-17.

Flyhalf Stephen Donald, who put through the kick from which Sivivatu scored, added a penalty in the 52nd minute that tied the scores and, after Grant had kicked the Stormers to a 23-20 lead, Donald put the Chiefs ahead with a penalty and the conversion of Liam Messam's 59th-minute try.

Chiefs captain Muliaina celebrated his 100th Super rugby game with his team's fifth win from 12 games, keeping their slim playoff chances alive.

Final Score Chiefs 30 Stormers 23


Tries - Penalty try, S. Sivivatu, L Messam
Pen - S Donald 3
Con - S Donald 3
Drop -
Cards -

Tries - G Aplon, S Burger
Pen - P Grant 3
Con - P Grant 2
Drop -
Cards - G.Aplon (Yellow) 42nd min

Match Officials
Referee: Stuart Dickinson (Australia)
Assistant referees: Glen Jackson (New Zealand), Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Television match official: Shane McDermott (New Zealand)


Chiefs :1. Toby Smith,2. Hika Elliot,3. Ben Afeaki,4. Craig Clarke,5. Romana Graham,6. Taiasina Tuifua,7. Liam Messam,8. Fritz Lee,9. Brendon Leonard,10. Stephen Donald,11. Sitiveni Sivivatu,12. Dwayne Sweeney,13. Richard Kahui,14. Lelia Masaga,15. Mils Muliaina (Captain)

Reserves:16. Aled de Malmanche,17. Sona Taumalolo,18. Isaac Ross,19. Sam Cane,20. Tawera Kerr-Barlow,21. Tim Nanai-Williams,22. Jackson Willison

Stormers :15. Conrad Jantjes,14. Gio Aplon ,13. Jaque Fourie,12. Jean De Villiers,11. Bryan Habana ,10. Peter Grant,9. Ricky Januarie,8. Duane Vermeulen,7. Francois Louw,6. Schalk Burger (C),5. Andries Bekker,4. Rynhardt Elstadt ,3. Brok Harris,2. Deon Fourie,1. Wicus Blaauw

Reserves: 16. Tiaan Liebenberg,17. Steven Kitshoff,18. De Kock Steenkamp,19. Anton Van Zyl,20. Dewaldt Duvenage,21. Lionel Cronje,22. Juan De Jongh


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