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- 16th Mar 2012
- KO 06:35
- Ground: Waikato Stadium
Late rally for the Chiefs
Taumalolo and Willison cross in the final 10 minutes
The Chiefs were forced to dig deep before claiming a 29-22 win over the Brumbies.
It was a real war of attrition at the Bay Park Stadium, with the kickers looking most likely to settle the result before three tries in a thrilling final 10 minutes.
First prop Arizona Taumalolo thought he had won it for the Chiefs, only for Sam Carter to respond for the Brumbies with four minutes left.
But with time running out Jackson Willison slid over in the corner to snatch the win for the home side.
Cruden, who had gambled on going wide and passing to Willison instead of going for a drop goal, finished with 19 points - while Brumbies No.10 Christian Lealiifano landed 17 of his side's points.
Neither side will be overly impressed with their attacking play, though, with handling errors too often costing them.
There was little to choose between the two sides in the first half, with both defences dominating.
The Chiefs attempted to find the space out wide, but found the gaps closed up every time by the scrambling Brumbies defence.
However it was the visitors who had the best chance when flanker Scott Fardy brushed aside three would-be tacklers but he knocked the ball on when diving for the line.
As it was, the first half finished level with Lealiifano and Cruden slotting over three penalties apiece.
The second half opened up a little, with Sonny Bill Williams and Tawera Kerr-Barlow exploiting chinks in the Brumbies defence - however they just could not find that final pass.
However it was the kickers that again dominated with two efforts from Lealiifano sandwiching two penalties from Cruden.
The Chiefs, though, broke from the script when they opted to kick to the corner and they were almost rewarded with a try, only for Nic White to hold up Liam Messam over the line.
However the try came from the resulting scrum - with Taumalolo powering over after Kane Thompson had been stopped short. Cruden converted.
The Brumbies' response was immediate with Carter driving over from close range - with the TMO ratifying the score. Lealiifano held his nerve to level the scores with the conversion with four minutes left.
However there was a final twist, though, as the Chiefs ploughed straight up field. A drop goal looked likely as the pack got the home side in a good position, only for Cruden to scoot down the blind side and find Willison out wide for the winner.
Cruden wrapped up a superb individual display with the conversion from out wide.Super 15. Click here to bet.