Crucial win for the Chiefs in Cape Town

Getty Images     13 May 2018     Getty Images

A loss would have left the Chiefs languishing in fourth spot on the New Zealand Conference at least four points behind the Highlanders. And with a number of their All Blacks set to miss next week’s clash against the Sharks, the Chiefs took a playoff-like intensity onto the field in Cape Town.

The Stormers have a backline littered with game-breakers and speed merchants, but they had no space to roam during the 80 minutes as the Chiefs line speed and terrier like relentlessness constantly shut them down.

On paper, this should have been a high-scoring affair. The conditions were perfect in Cape Town and both teams have averaged more than three tries per-game this season.

But all that mattered to the Chiefs was getting the victory and it showed as they waged a fierce forward battle and often looked for territorial advantage instead of unleashing their own set of flying game-breakers.

The Chiefs had a moment of trademark brilliance in the 21st minute when Damian McKenzie put a crosskick in behind the Stormers defence. The ball bounced awkwardly for the Stormers defenders and into the arms of Solomon Alaimalo who offloaded to Anton Lienert-Brown for a superb try.

Despite the thrilling strike, the Chiefs still found themselves down 6-5 after 50 minutes.

The Stormers ill-discipline cost them dearly in the 65th minute when a penalty try was awarded from a scrum close to their line. It was richly deserved for the Chiefs who had pressurised the Stormers into a number of penalties and gave the Chiefs a handy 6-12 lead with less than a quarter to play.

It looked like the game was wrapped up in the 74th minute when Shaun Stevenson went over out wide but a forward pass was ruled and the play brought back for a penalty.

Damian McKenzie slotted the shot for his first points of the game and put the Chiefs out of reach.

The Chiefs now head to Durban to face the Sharks in another acid-test but will be relieved to start their tour with a win.

Stormers 9 (Damian Willemse 2 pen, SP Marais pen) Chiefs 15 (Anton Lienert-Brown try, Damian McKenzie pen, penalty try)