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Chiefs survive Blues scare to remain in charge

Asaeli Tikoirotuma scored four tries in the match

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Article Published: Saturday 2 June 2012






The Chiefs held on to beat the Blues 34-41 and remain on top of the Super Rugby standings through the break for the June internationals.

The match was an exhibition of attacking rugby with brilliant individual tries from Rene Ranger and Sonny Bill Williams but the star of the match was Chiefs winger Asaeli Tikoirotuma who scored four tries.

Tikoirotuma equaled the record for an individual in a Super Rugby match starting with his first try in a first half which ended in a 20-20 deadlock, then added three including the match-winner in a thrilling second half as the Chiefs built and rebuilt leads against a Blues team which refused to concede defeat.

The Chiefs started the match with a three-point lead on top of the the overall standings ahead of the Stormers and the Brumbies.

Their bonus-point victory on Saturday ensures that the Chiefs stay in first place when the tournament breaks for the international test season for three weeks and comes at a crucial time for the Chiefs as two of their rivals play each other later today and a bonus point victory is unlikely.

In a match-up between the best and worst of the New Zealand conference sides the Blues went close to pulling off a sensational upset as they punished the Chiefs for ill-discipline.

Two converted tries in the second half when the Chiefs were again down to 14 men after their second yellow card saw the Blues lock the score up at 34 all before the speedster Tikoirotuma settled the outcome.

In his debut Super rugby year, the flying Fijian became the 10th player to score four tries in a Super match and he kept the Chiefs at the top of the table with their 11th win from 13 matches.

The Blues took two bonus points from the match but remain second from the bottom going into the three-week break with just two wins to show for their 13 matches.

Chiefs playmaker Aaron Cruden was a fixture in all the early scoring which started when he landed an early penalty before he allowed the Blues to score the first try when he missed a crucial tackle on Francis Saili, who scored.

Cruden, who bagged 16 points from five conversions and two penalties, engineered the Chiefs opening try when he countered the Blues rushed defence with a deft stab kick that Tikoirotuma pounced on for his first touchdown.

Sonny Bill Williams, who had the better of his match up with fellow All Blacks midfielder Ma'a Nonu, threaded his way through a wall of five tacklers for the Chiefs' second try.

The Blues were down 10-20 when the first half turned on a tip tackle which saw Chiefs wing Maritino Nemani given a yellow card.

Moments earlier the Blues were reduced to 14 men as well when Steven Luatua was sin-binned and shown a white card for a tip tackle.

In the closing minutes of the half Lachie Munro landed a penalty and converted his own try after Rene Ranger had opened up the Chiefs' defensive line for the Blues to draw level at 20-20.

The Chiefs regained the lead after the break with two converted tries by Tikoirotuma, the second coming from a move that stretched the length of the field after Rene Ranger lost the ball on the Chiefs' line.

With the Chiefs up 34-20 they were again punished by a yellow card when Mike Fitzgerald was sin-binned, allowing the Blues to cash in with tries to Rudi Wulf and Ranger, again levelling the scores.

But when the Blues had the sniff of an upset victory, Tikoirotuma stepped up for his fourth try, beating Wulf in a 30-metre race after Cruden had kicked the ball over the line.

Final Score Blues 34 (20) Chiefs 41 (20)

Scorers

Chiefs
Tries - A Tikoirotuma 4, SB Williams
Pen - A Cruden 2
Con - A Cruden 5
Drop -
Cards - M. Nemani (34th min Yellow), M. Fitzgerald (58th min Yellow)

Blues
Tries - F.Saili, L Munro, R Wulf, R Ranger
Pen - L . Munro 2
Con - L.Munro 4
Drop -
Cards - S.Luatua (33rd min Yellow)

Match Officials
Referee:
Chris Pollock
Assistant Ref 1:Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 2:Nick Briant
TMO : Ben Skeen

Teams

Blues

Tony Woodcock, James Parsons, Tevita Mailau, Liaki Moli, Ali Williams, Steven Luatua, Daniel Braid, Luke Braid (c), Alby Mathewson, Michael Hobbs, Rene Ranger, Ma'a Nonu, Francis Saili, Lachie Munro, Rudi Wulf.

Reserves: Tom McCartney, Angus Ta'avao, Filo Paulo, Peter Saili, Piri Weepu, Hadleigh Parkes, David Raikuna.

Chiefs

1.Sona Taumalolo,2. Mahonri Schwalger, 3. Ben Afeaki, 4. Michael Fitzgerald, 5. Brodie Retallick , 6. Liam Messam (c), 7. Sam Cane, 8. Kane Thompson,9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow,10. Aaron Cruden, 11. Asaeli Tikoirotuma,12. Sonny Bill Williams, 13. Jackson Willison, 14. Maritino Nemani , 15. Robbie Robinson

Replacements : 16. Hika Elliot, 17. Ben Tameifuna, 18. Romana Graham, 19. Scott Waldrom, 20. Brendon Leonard, 21. Tim Nanai-Williams ,22. Lelia Masaga

 
 
 
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