Super Rugby: Champions Chiefs outscore last year's runners-up Sharks in thriller
Last Updated: 27/04/13 2:37pm
In a rematch of last year's Super Rugby final defending champions the Chiefs outscored opponents Sharks 37-29 in a highly-entertaining encounter at the Waikato Stadium in Hamilton.
Both teams came into the clash on the back of two consecutive defeats, but it was the New Zealanders who came out on top in a ding-dong battle to go back to the top of their respective conference.
Asaeli Tikoirotuma, Bundee Aki and Tim Nanai-Williams (2) all went over the whitewash and Gareth Anscombe was in fine form with the boot for the hosts, despite a valiant effort from the South Africans.
They were out of the blocks quickly and never looked back, with Anscombe kicking a sixth-minute penalty after an infringement and five minutes later was tagging a conversion onto Tikoirotuma's try in the corner.
Two minutes later Liam Messam set Aki free for a second touchdown and, when Anscombe again split the posts, the score was 17-0.
The onslaught was relentless and with just a quarter of an hour gone the home side had a third try, with Nanai-Williams stripping his opposite number and sprinting through on the outside, with Anscombe again on target.
With 21 minutes gone Derick Minnie helped the Sharks back into the contest as he crept over for a try converted by Patrick Lambie. And one try quickly turned into two and Lubabalo Mtembu backed up Lambie and took his inside pass to score.
A third Sharks try arrived three minutes before the break when Minnie picked up possession from the lineout and went over. A Lambie conversion made it 24-19.
The Chiefs regrouped and came out firing again after the interval; Nanai-Williams getting the bonus-point try after an Aaron Cruden kick. Anscombe then slotted a penalty but again the visitors responded and Keegan Daniel burst through and Lambie converted.
Time would beat them, though, despite Lambie and Cruden trading late penalties.