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Chiefs salvage late draw with Highlanders

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Angus Ta’avao of the Chiefs scored a late try to earn a 31-all draw against the Highlanders at Forsyth Barr stadium in Dunedin on Saturday.

The Chiefs outscored the Highlanders by five tries to four in the match and looked set to be the losing side until Ta’avao scored under the posts in the last minute of the match.

The Highlanders led for most of the match and early in the second half went two scores ahead but the Chiefs refused to give up and after falling 7 points behind in the 77th minute they looked set to lose but with a bonus point.

From the restart the Chiefs regained the ball and worked it to the tryline. Initially it looked like the Highlanders could hold the Chiefs out but the Hamilton side recycled the ball and Ta’avo powered over to score.

Marty McKenzie added the conversion from in front of the posts to level the scores and save the draw.

The Highlanders had a chance to win the match with the final play but the ball went into touch.

The draw at home may also bring worse news for the Highlanders and the All Blacks as fullback Ben Smith had to be helped from the field near the end of the match after what seemed to be an age before he went off.

The result means the Chiefs’s season stays alive for another week although they remain last in the New Zealand Super rugby conference.

The Highlanders will see the result as a missed opportunity as after 52 minutes they were leading 28-12 but in the final quarter allowed the Chiefs to come back at them.

The tries from Angus Ta’avao (two) and Tyler Ardron saved the draw for the Chiefs who will see it as a positive after losing Lachlan Boshier, Michael Allardice and Taleni Seu amongst others to injury during the match adding to an already lengthy injured list.

Flanker Luke Jacobson was the stand out player for the Chiefs while Josh Ioane shined for the Highlanders with a try and four conversions.

Next week the Chiefs host the Sharks in Hamilton while the Highlanders host the Jaguares from Argentina in Dunedin.

Final score Highlanders 31(14) Chiefs 31(12)

Scorers

Highlanders
Tries – J.Ioane, B.Smith, M.Faddes, J.Lentjes
Pen – J.Ioane
Con – J.Ioane 4
Drop –
Cards –

Chiefs
Tries – B.Weber, L.Jacobson, A.Ta’avao 2 ,T.Ardron
Pen –
Con – M.McKenzie 3
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 1: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Ref 2:James Doleman
TMO :Glenn Newman

Teams

Highlanders

15 Ben Smith (cc), 14 Matt Faddes, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Josh Ioane, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Elliot Dixon, 7 James Lentjes, 6 Luke Whitelock (cc), 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown

Replacements:16 Ash Dixon, 17 Ayden Johnstone, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Josh Dickson, 20 Shannon Frizell, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Josh McKay, 23 Sio Tomkinson

Chiefs

15 Solomon Alaimalo, 14 Sean Wainui, 13 Tumua Manu, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Etene Nanai-Seturo, 10 Marty McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Tyler Ardron, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 6 Luke Jacobson, 5 Mitchell Brown, 4 Michael Allardice (captain), 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Atu Moli

Replacements:16 Liam Polwart, 17 Ryan Coxon, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Jesse Parete, 20 Taleni Seu, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Shaun Stevenson, 23 Bailyn Sullivan

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