Chiefs beat Hurricanes in Super 14 semi - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Chiefs beat Hurricanes in Super 14 semi

22/05/2009 08:30:00 PM Comments (0)

The Chiefs broke new ground as they deservedly advanced to rugby's Super 14 final, beating the Hurricanes 14-10 in Hamilton.

In scenes reminiscent of the 2006 final in Christchurch, fog descended on the field late in the match as the Hurricanes desperately tried to overcome a four-point deficit.

The Chiefs' reward is a home final against the Crusaders next Saturday - or a daunting journey to Pretoria if the Bulls win the second semi-final at Loftus Versfeld.

While the Chiefs celebrated, the Hurricanes were left to contemplate a fifth loss at the semi-final stage.

Although the Chiefs muscled up to repel wave after wave of attack at the death, Mils Muliaina's 54th minute try proved the difference.

The All Blacks midfield of Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith were rarely offered any leeway to attack an area of perceived Chiefs weakness - although Nonu opened the scoring in the 20th minute.

The midfielder dotted down untouched after roaming blindside flanker Victor Vito collected a short pass before surging past Sione Lauaki and finding Nonu.

Stung by conceding against the run of play, the Chiefs regrouped though their task was eased by the Hurricanes losing industrious open side flanker Scott Waldrom to injury and prop John Schwalger to the sin bin.

Schwalger was carded by Australian referee Stuart Dickinson for a ruck infringement in the 27th minute as the Chiefs burrowed towards the line.

Donald's penalty attempt cannoned of an upright enabling the Hurricanes to clear but the Chiefs hammered away to finally take advantage six minutes into Schwalger's suspension when Lauaki profited from some slick handling by Stephen Donald and Sitiveni Sivivatu.

Mobile lock Craig Clarke set Lauaki free down the touchline and the occasional All Black made light of a lack of space by batting away Cory Jane's attempted tackle before leaving Rodney So'oialo in his wake.

Donald added the extras from wide out to bring up 600 points in Super rugby.

He was unable to break the deadlock with a 43rd minute attempt but had a far easier task after Muliaina's try.

The Hurricanes had to be content with a Piri Weepu penalty to narrow the gap to four points but the Chiefs refused to buckle despite losing the damaging Lauaki to a head knock with 26 minutes remaining.

Muliaina praised his side for refusing to buckle under pressure.

"I'm absolutely proud of my boys - the heart and dedication in the last 10-15 minutes that went into defence, you can't train stuff like that.

"We knew we had to try and slow their game down and it was a great effort from the forwards," he added.

So'oialo congratulated the Chiefs for the way they played.

"I thought we did really well but a couple of things let us down. We gave away a bit too many penalties and missed a few tackles.

"I'm proud of the boys for they way they played tonight and all year.

"They never really gave it up and took it to the Chiefs tonight."

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