Chiefs disappointing

Getty Images     24 Apr 2010     Getty Images

After missing eight shots at goal, 19 points, the home side - which had seven starting changes - will be kicking itself. It outscored the visitor five tries to three but the draw means it is winless in five matches in Hamilton this year.

It took six minutes for inform man-of-the-match fullback Tim Nanai-Williams, playing his eighth Super 14 match, to crack the Cheetahs flimsy defence. He found space and an overlap, dishing the ball to rangy No.8 Colin Bourke who stretched out to score in the tackle of visiting halfback Sarel Pretorius. Donald failed to convert from wide-out.

Donald's opposite, Naas Olivier, answered right back with a penalty from 40 metres out.

Determined to attack, the Chiefs easily entrenched themselves inside the Cheetahs danger area. Right wing Dwayne Sweeney grabbed his eighth Super 14 try as the Chiefs took advantage of superior numbers out wide. Donald missed a third kick, but his side had a handy 10-3 lead.

A smart nudge from Chiefs halfback Junior Poluleuligaga meant back peddling Cheetahs left-wing Jongi Nokwe was forced to ground the ball over the line resulting in a five-metre scrum, Chiefs ball. Prop Toby Smith was stationed on the left-hand touch and scored a popular. Donald remained consistent with the boot, shanking a horrible attempt.

Their backs weren't defending but the Cheetahs forwards decided to show them the way, rumbling a 10-man maul over from a lineout with No.8 Davon Raubenheimer the beneficiary. Olivier added the extras to put his side back within striking distance at 15-10.

Much to the measly 8000 crowd's disgust, Donald aimed for the posts with a 35m penalty. He should have listened to the fans – failing with his fifth kick.

On a more positive note, the Chiefs pack showed they too could rumble. Hooker Hika Elliot grabbing a bonus point fourth try from his side's first lineout, but Donald’s kicking misery continued.

Sweeney was held up in-goal as the hooter sounded.

Handling errors and ill-directed passes marred the Chiefs second half opening.
Nokwe thought he had a gifted-wrapped try after he'd toed a loose ball over the Chiefs line, but he embarrassingly botched a put-down which was closer to being grounded by his head.

However, the Cheetahs recovered and 116kg prop WP Nel muscled his way over. Despite scoring two less tries the visitors were within three points, 20-17, after Olivier's conversion.

Then a painful brain explosion put the Cheetahs in the lead for the first time.
All Blacks and Chiefs wing Sitiveni Sivivatu, back after a four-week knee injury, threw a pass too far infront of centre Jackson Willison who fumbled the ball. Cheetahs vice captain Myer Bosman gladly scooped up the scraps to run 20m and score, Oliver missed the two but the Cheetahs were threatening to steal the victory at 22-0.

Donald was yanked from the field, replaced by Richard Kahui who was one of three All Blacks on the bench. Callum Bruce moved in one to five-eighths, but he too left his kicking boots at home as he failed with easy three-pointer.

Neat interplay down the left flank between the Chiefs backs had them hot on attack. Their captain Liam Messam said 'follow me' as he put his chargers back in the ascendancy, diving over for the Chiefs fifth try giving them a slim 25-22 lead. Bruce was unable to convert.

That comfort was short lived as Olivier nailed a 40m effort to level the contest with 10 minutes remaining. It would be the final scoring act of the match.

Scorers: Chiefs 25 (Colin Bourke, Dwayne Sweeney, Toby Smith, Hika Elliot, Liam Messam tries) Cheetahs 25 (Davon Raubenheimer, W P Nel, Meyer Bosman tries; Naas Olivier 2 pen; Naas Olivier 2 con).
HT: 20-10