Super Rugby: Chiefs come from behind to beat the Highlanders
Last Updated: 01/03/14 8:57am
The Chiefs maintained their perfect early start to Super Rugby by coming from behind to beat the Highlanders 21-19 at Waikato Stadium to make it two wins from two so far.
The defending champions produced another counter-attacking performance and outscored their visitors three tries to one, but still needed a late try to snatch the victory having trailed on the scoreboard for over an hour.
A gritty, committed performance from the visitors saw the Highlanders led 16-7 at half time thanks to a try from a rolling maul and handful of penalties from fly-half Lima Sopoaga.
The Chiefs grabbed the opening try via a textbook score out wide from Tim Nanai-Williams but, as was the case in Christchurch last week, the champions were made to live off scraps of possession and spent most of the first 40 minutes pinned in their own half.
The Highlanders pack shut the hosts out with some classic driving play and were rewarded with a try in the 32nd minute as Hardie touched down.
Chiefs skipper Liam Messam muscled his way over early in the second half to reduce the deficit to just two points heading into the final half-hour as the Chiefs turned up the tempo.
Sopoaga's fourth penalty gave the Highlanders a five-point lead on the hour mark but the Chiefs hit back in brilliant fashion as Asaeli Tikoirotuma collected Aaron Cruden's kick to the touchline before offloading to Charlie Ngatai, who finished in the corner.