Chiefs Survive Brave Sharks

The Chiefs bounced back with a hard-fought 29-23 win over the Sharks on Saturday.

It was certainly not smooth sailing for the New Zealanders, however in the end they outscored the Sharks four tries to two.

The result moves  the Chiefs off the bottom of the New Zealand conference and within two points of making the top eight.

While the Sharks, backing up from holding the table-topping  Crusaders to a draw last week, at least gained a losing bonus point to edge ahead of the Bulls and Jaguares in the South Africa group.

Brad Weber (2), Mitch Karpik and Anton Lienert-Brown scored  the hosts’ tries, while Marty McKenzie added nine points with boot.

For the Sharks Hyron Andrews and Ruan Botha crossed the chalk and Curwin Bosch added two conversions and three penalties to visitors’ points.

The Chiefs, who produced a late burst to draw with the Highlanders last week, again looked out of the contest when they trailed the Sharks 17-23 before producing two tries in two minutes to snatch the result.

“I certainly think last week against the ‘Landers helped. We had to go to a deep, dark place to get that so we knew if we stuck at it, it could be ours,” Weber said.

Sharks captain Louis Schreuder blamed a momentary lapse of concentration for letting the game slip away.

“Small mistakes, one a linebreak from a lineout and one from a kick off and two tries. That’s what cost us,” he said.

The Chiefs pressured the Sharks line for the first 10 minutes but their only reward was a penalty by Marty McKenzie.

The hosts might have had the points on the board but it was the South Africans who dominated the opening minutes of proceedings. However a horrendous defensive mistake made sure that hooker Atu Moli led the Chiefs back on attack for Weber to score their opening try to start a flurry of scoring in the closing 15 minutes of the half.

A Bosch penalty and a converted try to Andrews, with the big lock out-running the Chiefs backs, leveled the score at 10-all.

Chiefs hit back with rapid pace. A well-worked five-metre line-out was rounded of by Mitch Karpik for the Chiefs’ third try and a 17-10 lead.

Just before the break, Bosch reduced the deficit with a penalty.

The second half saw both sides employ kick-and-chase tactics in the search for territory and eventually it was the Chiefs who cracked first with Botha crashing over.

The lead certainly shifted the momentum and handed the Sharks extra confidence. Bosch stretched the lead with a penalty.

However, the Sharks’ scoreboard dominance was short lived as Chiefs regained control with back-to-back tries from  Lienert-Brown and Weber.

The visitors continued to pill on the pressure up an until the 82nd minute, however Chiefs have done enough to seal the win.

The Chiefs will take on the Blues next week, while Sharks will have a bye.

Man of the match: Makazole Mapimpi was certainly a player that stood out while Curwin Bosch also made his presence felt. However our nod goes for Chiefs captain Brad Weber, who was the best on the fireld for his sides.

The scorers:

For Chiefs:
Tries: Weber 2, Karpik, Lienert-Brown
Cons: McKenzie 3
Pen: McKenzie

For Sharks:
Tries: Andrews, Botha
Cons: Bosch 2
Pens: Bosch 3

Yellow card: Nathan Harris (Chiefs, 54 – Cynical foul)

As it happened: Chiefs v Sharks