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Late Chiefs try snatches victory over Brumbies

Liam Messam and the Chiefs on the charge

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Article Published: Friday 16 March 2012|

Jackson Willison scored a late try to earn the Chiefs a hard fought 29-22 Super Rugby victory over the Brumbies in Tauranga where the Chiefs have never lost.

The Chiefs looked to have sealed the result with a try by Arizona Taumalolo just over 10 minutes from full time before the Brumbies hit back four minutes from time with a try of their own.

The match then looked to be headed for a 22-all draw only for Jackson Willison to score his try which Aaron Cruden converted.

The match had been a goalkicking duel for almost 70 minutes but came alive in the last 10 minutes with three tries - two to the Chiefs and one to the Brumbies - before the Chiefs clinched its third win in four games.

The Brumbies suffered their first loss and slipped to 2-1 after an early-season bye.

Cruden and Brumbies opposite Christian Leali'ifano engaged in a tit-for-tat exchange of penalties for 69 minutes, until the score was locked at 15-15.

Prop Sona Taumalolo and Willison then scored tries for the Chiefs on either side of a Brumbies try scored by replacement lock Sam Carter.

Cruden and Leali'ifano battled to give their teams the upper hand in the match until Taumalolo interrupted their goalkicking duel with the first try of the match.

Taumalolo is one of the Chiefs' leading try-scorers this season, touching down in each of his last three games.

He scored on Friday in typical style, supporting No. 8 Kane Thompson when he drove towards the goal line from the back of a five-meter scrum, taking a short pass and using his strength and low center of gravity to crash through the last of the defence.

Cruden's conversion gave the Chiefs a 22-15 lead in a match in which neither team had previously led by more than three points.

Cruden kicked three goals from three attempts and Leali'ifano three from four in the first half which progressed in three-point increments to a 9-9 halftime stalemate.

Scoring continued in the same fashion in the second half with two goals each by Cruden and Leali'ifano until the 15-15 deadlock.

Taumalolo broke that scoring pattern with the first try but the Brumbies proved equal to the challenge and hit back within five minutes through Carter.

The Brumbies carried the ball through a long series of phases, until it was on the brink of the Chiefs' goal line and Carter was able to drive over on a narrow blindside.

Leali'ifano converted to tie the scores.

The 22-22 tie remained until the final minute when the Chiefs, from a turnover, drove the ball relentlessly into Brumbies territory, set up a final ruck near the goal line and Cruden moved the ball speedily to Willison who scored inches from the corner flag.

Cruden added the conversion almost from the sideline to finish with seven goals from seven attempts and to improve his success rate for the season to more than 75 percent.

Leali'ifano finished with six from seven after converting Carter's try.

Final Score Chiefs 29 (9) Brumbies 22 (9)


Tries - A. Taumalolo, J. Willison
Pen - A. Cruden 5
Con - A. Cruden 2
Drop -
Cards -

Tries - S. Carter
Pen - C. Lealiifano 5
Con - C. Lealiifano
Drop -
Cards -

Match Officials
Referee: Ian Smith
Assistant Ref 1: Vinny Munro
Assistant Ref 2: Nick Briant
TMO : Shane McDermott



1. Arizona Taumalolo, 2. Mahonri Schwalger, 3. Ben Tameifuna, 4. Craig Clarke, 5. Brodie Retallick, 6. Tanerau Latimer, 7. Sam Cane, 8. Liam Messam, 9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 10. Aaron Cruden, 11. Tim Nanai-Williams, 12. Sonny Bill Williams, 13. Jackson Willison, 14. Richard Kahui, 15. Robbie Robinson.

Replacements : 16. Marcel Cummings-Toone, 17. Josh Hohneck, 18. Kane Thompson, 19. Scott Waldrom, 20. Augustine Pulu, 21. Andrew Horrell, 22. Maritino Nemani.


1. Ben Alexander, 2. Stephen Moore, 3. Dan Palmer, 4. Leon Power, 5. Peter Kimlin, 6. Scott Fardy, 7. Michael Hooper, 8. Ben Mowen, 9. Ian Prior, 10. Christian Lealiifano, 11. Henry Speight, 12. Joe Tomane, 13. Andrew Smith, 14. Pat McCabe, 15. Jesse Mogg.

Replacements: 16. Anthony Hegarty, 17. Ruaidhri Murphy, 18. Sam Carter, 19. Ita Vaea, 20. Nic White, 21. Zack Holmes, 22. Cam Crawford.

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