Giant leap forward for Chiefs

Fri, 11 Jul 2014 14:10
Large aaron cruden chiefs points

The Chiefs took a giant leap towards joining Super Rugby's illustrious hat-trick club - three consecutive titles.

The Chiefs took a giant leap towards joining Super Rugby's illustrious hat-trick club - three consecutive titles.

That club currently has just one member, the Crusaders - who scored their hat-trick in 1998, 1999 and 2000. The Blues (1996 and 1997) and Bulls (2009 and 2010) are the only teams with back-to-back titles - a feat also achieved by the Crusaders in 2005 and 20006, to go with their hat-trick.

The defending champions scraped into the Super Rugby play-offs with a tightly fought 11-8 victory over the Blues on Friday.

The Chiefs needed a win in the final match of the regular season to make the top six and keep alive their dream of securing three Super Rugby titles in a row.

They did it with a strong defensive effort against a committed Blues outfit who had little to play for but came close to derailing their North Island rivals' campaign.

The win means the Chiefs are definitely in the top six, although they must await the outcome of other matches to determine if they will finish fifth or sixth.

Chiefs captain and flyhalf Aaron Cruden believes his team's heroic defensive effort, in the first half, paved the way to the victory in Auckland.

"It was extremely hard work," Cruden said.

"The boys showed a lot of character.

"There's been a lot of doubters, but within our circle we've kept the faith and it's paid off."

While the Chiefs have endured a season marred by inconsistency and poor form, Cruden said they were going into the finals full of confidence after two wins in a row.

"Last week was a step forward and this week is a massive step forward," he said.

"There was a bit of fear coming into this game, it could have been the end of the season, but we stuck it out to win."

The Chiefs weathered that metaphorical storm during the opening period, then asserted themselves by balancing the ledger of territory and possession, then taking the lead with an Aaron Cruden penalty - the only points of the first half.

"We probably made harder work of it than we needed to," said Cruden.

"But we knew it was going to be a tough cookie here against the Blues.

"I'm stoked for the boys. They showed a lot of character, especially in that first 20 minutes and we were able to hang on in the end."

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 07h35 Dunedin
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 18h05 Cardiff
Edinburgh v Dragons 18h35 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 RDS Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Blues 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
Treviso v Edinburgh 21 | 6
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 17
Reds 8 2 0 6 10
Force 7 2 0 5 9
Waratahs 8 2 0 6 9
Rebels 7 1 1 5 7
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 8 0 0 36
Hurricanes 8 7 0 1 33
Chiefs 8 7 0 1 33
Highlanders 8 5 0 3 23
Blues 8 3 0 5 17
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 8 6 0 2 26
Bulls 8 3 0 5 14
Cheetahs 8 2 0 6 10
Sunwolves 8 1 0 7 5
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 8 7 0 1 32
Sharks 8 5 1 2 24
Jaguares 8 4 0 4 20
Kings 8 2 0 6 10