The Brumbies and Chiefs faced off for the second time in season 2014 with the Brumbies enjoying a win earlier the season despite the Chiefs fielding a side that was a very different to the one that took to the field tonight.
The Brumbies finals hopes are still alive with a tense 32-30 win over the Chiefs in Canberra in the qualifying final. It was a game deserving of finals billing with a nail biting finish to rival that of the 2013 decider.
It was an action packed opening ten minutes to match the intensity of a finals match. An early penalty goal to the Chiefs was followed by Craig Joubert handing Chiefs centre Tim Nanai-Williams a yellow card for what Joubert described as cynical play. The opening stanza was rounded out by a try to Nic White for the Brumbies after he snuck around the back of the maul to catch the Chiefs napping.
And before the Chiefs had a chance to regather themselves, they found themselves under the sticks again following a Robbie Coleman try after great vision and pace from White and Jesse Mogg in the leadup to make it 14-3.
The Brumbies didn’t allow the Chiefs any ball in the opening 20 minutes and kept the ball in hand and had scored a third try to Jesse Mogg after a patient build up of over 15 phases with their forwards leading the way.
When the Chiefs finally got the ball, they were able to pressure the Brumbies into infringing in their own half and opted to kick for touch instead of taking points. The weight of possession proved too much for the Brumbies and Bundee Aki came up with the Chiefs try.
The half time break allowed the Chiefs to gain their composure and they came out much better in the second half. Aaron Cruden landed an early penalty and Lealiifano responded with his own three pointer.
But after that the Chiefs showed why they are the two time defending champions and clawed back the deficit with the help of a Henry Speight yellow card that had the same importance as the Nanai-Williams one earlier with the Chiefs right back in it.
Tawera Kerr Barlow and Nanai-Williams scored to level the scores with just over 20 minutes to go but the Brumbies took back the lead with a huge rolling maul with Jarrad Butler coming up with the five pointer.
The Chiefs battled away sensing a win and they came close with Gareth Anscombe getting the nod from the TMO scoring in the right corner. Cruden’s conversion attempt from the right sideline missed to make it 32-30 with three minutes to go to give the game a nail biting finish.
The Brumbies managed to hold on for the close win and will now wait on other results to see who they will be playing next week.
The Game Changer(s)
The yellow card to Nanai-Williams in the opening minutes and Speight in the second half. The Brumbies got out to a good lead that was pegged back in the second half.
The G&GR MOTM
Plenty putting their hands up in this one. I’m giving the nod to Nic White.
Henry Speight was impressive despite a 10 minute rest.
Christian Lealiifano finally found some form with the kicking boots despite recent struggles.
Score & Scorers
Tries: White, Coleman, Mogg, Butler
Conversions: Lealiifano 3
Penalties: Lealiifano 2
Tries: Aki, Kerr-Barlow, Nanai-Williams, Anscombe
Conversions: Cruden 2
Penalties: Cruden 2
Cards & Citings
5 mins – Nanai-Williams (Chiefs) – Yellow
47 mins – Speight (Brumbies) – Yellow