Waikato defeat Cheetahs 28-10 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Waikato defeat Cheetahs 28-10

19/04/2009 12:31:32 PM Comments (0)

The Chiefs found themselves in an unaccustomed position on top of the Super 14 rugby table after the 10th round, with a little help from their compatriots the Crusaders.

The Crusaders, spurred by the return of All Blacks captain Richie McCaw - who scored their only try - inflicted the second-straight defeat on the previously frontrunning Sharks, allowing the Chiefs to go top with a 28-10 win on Saturday over the last-placed Cheetahs.

The Chiefs have never found themselves in such a lofty position at such a late stage in the season.

But, on the back of a franchise-record six-match winning streak, they are set to make their second semi-final appearance in 14 years of Super rugby.

The Chiefs reached the Super 12 semi-finals in 2004, losing 37-20 to the Brumbies to finish fourth, but otherwise have never ended a season in better than sixth place.

But their win on Saturday in the first of three consecutive matches in South Africa has made it likely the Chiefs will break into the playoffs, and perhaps even host a semi in Hamilton for the first time.

The Chiefs failed to take a bonus point from Saturday's win in Kimberley, scoring three tries in the second half after trailing 7-6 at halftime, but lifted themselves above the Sharks on points differential with the Crusaders' 13-10 win in Durban.

"We're pretty stoked and I take my hat off to the bench; they were probably the difference today," Chiefs captain Mils Muliaina said. "We were a little bit frustrated in that first half but we felt we needed to be patient and wear them down, and we did that."

The Chiefs have potential personnel problems to deal with as they move on to an 11th-round clash with the third-placed Bulls - prop James McGougan and All Blacks center Richard Kahui were cited after the match at Kimberley.

Both were due to face a judicial hearing in South Africa later on Sunday; McGougan for allegedly trampling an opponent and Kahui for a dangerous tackle.

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