Rugby: Chiefs made to work for victory

By Stuart Whitaker

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Co-captain Sam Cane scored two tries as the Chiefs beat the Southern Kings 58-24 in Port Elizabeth.
Co-captain Sam Cane scored two tries as the Chiefs beat the Southern Kings 58-24 in Port Elizabeth.

It wasn't quite as comfortable as the scoreline suggested, but the Chiefs got their Super Rugby campaign back on track with a tough win over the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth yesterday morning (NZ time).

The 58-24 scoreline belied the fact that the Kings led 12-10 after 27 minutes, never threw in the towel and were tenacious right until the final whistle.

But it was never going to be enough for the new franchise, especially with the Chiefs looking to recover from the home loss to the Lions the previous week.

After falling behind to an early Louis Fouche penalty, the Chiefs replied in kind through the boot of Damian McKenzie, who capped a 23 point performance, from converting all seven tries and kicking three conversions, by being named man of the match.

The first Chiefs try came in the 21st minute after All Blacks flanker Sam Cane stood off the lineout then ran the short side to feed Taleni Seu, who recycled the ball for the co-captain to regather and go low to score the first of his two tries.

It gave the Chiefs a 10-6 lead, but ill discipline gave Fouche two kickable penalties to get his side back into the game.

A turnover ball was pounced on by Aaron Cruden who fed Glen Fisiiahi, only for the winger to be caught close to the line.

But the position wasn't wasted and the ball was fed to McKenzie who scored. Moments later the Chiefs were in again with the extremely lively Brad Weber instrumental in getting Seu over.

The Kings showed character in scoring the final try of the half through Edgar Marutlulle to go in 27-17 down at the break.

The Chiefs effectively killed off the contest with early second half tries to Charlie Ngatai and Cruden, both from Kings' errors.

When Martin Bezuidenhoult was sin-binned in the 69th minute, the prospect of a huge score was strong but, to their credit, the Kings conceded only one more try while down to 14, the final points coming from a penalty right on full time.

The bonus point win puts the Chiefs second behind ACT in the Australasian group.

They now travel to take on the Jaguares in Argentina next weekend.

Scores:

Chiefs 58 (Sam Cane 2, Aaron Cruden, Glen Fisiiahi, Damian McKenzie, Charlie Ngatai, Taleni Seu tries McKenzie 7 con, 3 pen) Kings 24 (Edgar Marutlulle 2 tries Louis Fouche con, 4 pen) at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. Referee: Jaco van Heerden.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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