Chiefs secure play-off spot
June 30, 2012 12:21:17 UK
The Chiefs beat the Highlanders 27-21 in Dunedin on Friday night to secure a Super Rugby play-off spot.
It was long-delayed revenge for the competition leaders, who were beaten 23-19 by the Highlanders in February's opening round.
Tim Nanai-Williams opened the visitors' account early after Sonny Bill Williams sliced through the midfield, found Tawera Kerr-Barlow on his inside who offloaded for Nanai-Williams to finish the 60-metre move.
The Highlanders kept in touch through three Chris Noakes penalties, but the Chiefs hit back late as half-time approached.
Kerr-Barlow and Williams featured again before new All Black Brodie Retallick's quick hands found fullback Robbie Robinson out wide.
Ahead 18-9 at half-time, the Chiefs went further ahead at the restart through an Aaron Cruden penalty before the Highlanders hit back.
Fired up after a brawl following a Williams shoulder charge, replacement hooker Andrew Hore burrowed over from an attacking lineout to narrow the gap to just seven.
With barely five minutes left, the Highlanders capitalised on some aimless Chiefs kicking to regain territory and Hosea Gear's try came after strong Highlanders rucking.
Mike Delany added the extras, setting up a tense final few minutes which tested the Chiefs defence mightily right until the final whistle.
Meanwhile, New Zealand are 2.20 to win the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
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