Super Rugby

Chiefs beat Highlanders after Golden Point thriller




The Chiefs beat the Highlanders 23-26 after extra time in the first-ever Golden Point in Super Rugby Aotearoa at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin.

Damian McKenzie missed a late drop-goal and last-play penalty from the halfway line that sent the game into extra time, but the 25-year-old won the game for his team with a long-range 86th-minute penalty.

The teams tied 23-all in regulation after the Highlanders pulled back a 10-point deficit in the last 10 minutes of the game; however, McKenzie had the final say.

The Chiefs led by a slender five-point margin at the break. Etene Nanai-Seturo opened the scoring in the sixth minute, but James Lentjes crashed over four minutes later.

Both kickers had a nightmare. Mitch Hunt missed three kicks in the first half and Damian McKenzie two; however, McKenzie did land a penalty on the stroke of halftime to make it 10-5 to the visitors.

Aaron Smith levelled soon after the break, and the kickers traded penalties before Angus Ta’avao crawled over the line to extend the Chiefs’ lead to 10, early in the last quarter.

Hunt and McKenzie continued to miss kicks as the teams failed to punish each others’ indiscretions.

Josh Ioane, however, came off the bench and he made an immediate impact, scoring and converting to make it 20-23 with nine minutes remaining.

Ioane then levelled the scores with a 77th-minute penalty. McKenzie then missed a drop-kick and penalty after the hooter as the teams went into extra time.

Ioane missed a drop-kick before McKenzie stepped up to win the game.

Hunt missed an early shot at goal, it was a sign of things to come (for both kickers).

On six minutes, Nanai-Seturo finishes expertly in the corner after Brad Weber drew the defenders to open the space. McKenzie added the extras.

Super Rugby Aotearoa Round 7 Video Highlights: Highlanders vs Chiefs at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin

Four minutes later, the Landers struck.

James Lentjes broke down the blindside, sold a dummy, and crashed over for the hosts. It was Weber who bought the dummy, which opened up space on the near side for the flanker, who busted through Kaleb Trask to score.

Again Hunt missed. Mitchell Brown strayed offside on 22 minutes; Hunt missed a third time.

McKenzie missed two penalties of his own in the space of two minutes, but he did nail a long-range penalty after the hooter to double the advantage.

Aaron Smith scored three minutes after the break. The scrumhalf took Shannon Frizell’s pass and swallow-dived in the corner to level the scores.

Hunt, of course, pulled his kick wide, but he did trade penalties with McKenzie to keep the Highlanders in touch at 13-16 before the hour mark.

Angus Ta’avao crossed over the line to extend his side’s lead after a break by Anton Lienert-Brown. The conversion opened up a 10-point lead with 18 minutes remaining.

The Landers won a penalty and decided to kick to the corner. Tony Brown’s side has not been great with their rolling mauls this season, but they got it right this time.

The maul was better, although the Chiefs stopped the attack. They could not, however, stop Josh Ioane though. Ioane took the ball at pace, and about 10 metres from the line, and ghosted through to score.

Crazy scenes as the teams went into Golden Point Extra Time

Ioane converted his try before knocking over a late penalty that took the game into extra time. McKenzie had already squandered a drop-kick and penalty.

So the game went into the extra period for the first time in Super Rugby Aotearoa. Knowing that the first points win the game, both teams pushed for the win.

Jona Nareki’s grubber pinned the Chiefs inside their 22. The visitors then botched their lineout, gifting the Landers a free-kick.

Ioane shanked a drop-kick of his own before McKenzie sealed the deal.

Final Score after Extra Time: Highlanders 23 (5) Chiefs 26 (10)


Tries – Lentjes, A. Smith, J. Ioane
Pen – Hunt, J. Ioane
Con – J. Ioane
Drop –
Cards –

Tries – Nanai-Seturo, Angus Ta’avao
Pen – McKenzie (4)
Con – McKenzie (2)
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant Ref 1: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 2: Brendon Pickerill
TMO: Chris Hart



15 Connor Garden-Bachop, 14 Ngatungane Punivai, 13 Patelesio Tomkinson, 12 Scott Gregory, 11 Jona Nareki, 10 Mitch Hunt, 9 Aaron Smith (co-captain), 8 Kazuki Himeno, 7 James Lentjes, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Paripari Parkinson, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Ash Dixon (co-captain), 1 Ethan De Groot

16 Liam Coltman, 17 Ayden Johnstone, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Josh Dickson, 20 Billy Harmon, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Hugh Renton


15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Jonah Lowe, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Quinn Tupaea, 11 Etene Nanai-Seturo, 10 Kaleb Trask, 9 Brad Weber (captain), 8 Luke Jacobson, 7 Kaylum Boshier, 6 Mitchell Brown, 5 Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 4 Tupou Vaa’i, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 1 Aidan Ross

Replacements: 16 Bradley Slater, 17 Ollie Norris, 18 Joe Apikotoa, 19 Samipeni Finau, 20 Pita Gus Sowakula, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Alex Nankivell, 23 Shaun Stevenson

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