| 11.8°C Belfast

Chiefs hold off Cheetahs challenge


Aaron Cruden scored 20 points for the Chiefs

Aaron Cruden scored 20 points for the Chiefs

Aaron Cruden scored 20 points for the Chiefs

The Chiefs bounced back from last week's loss to the Sharks with a 37-27 bonus-point win against the Cheetahs in Hamilton.

Michael Leitch and Liam Messam scored first-half tries for the home side but with Michael Fitzgerald and Ben Tameifuna both going to the sin bin in quick succession, Boom Prinsloo went over for the South Africans and the gap was just a point at half-time.

Heinrich Brussow went over twice for the Cheetahs after the break but the boot of Aaron Cruden and tries from Sam Cane and Andrew Horrell saw the Chiefs home.

The home side were ahead after just two minutes as Sonny Bill Williams offloaded to Leitch to cross over, with Cruden adding the extras.

Two Joe Pietersen penalties reduced the gap to one point but Messam broke out of a maul and went over for a second try, with Cruden again booting two to widen the gap.

Fitzgerald was then yellow-carded and the Cheetahs made the most of it with Prinsloo going over after a maul and Pietersen converting.

Tameifuna was then sin-binned but the Chiefs made it to the break with a 14-13 lead and two Cruden penalties extended that gap in the opening moments of the second half.

A mistake from the kicker allowed Brussow to go over for a try in the 53rd minute and when Pietersen converted again, the scores were level.

A fourth Cruden penalty edged the Chiefs in front and when Brussow was sent to the bin, the Chiefs soon had a try with Cane crossing out wide and Cruden converting.

An Augustine Pulu break allowed Horrell to get over for the bonus point with another successful conversion before Brussow got his second at the death.