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, 15 December 2017
Ulster v Harlequins 19h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sat, 16 December 2017
Montpellier v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Treviso v Scarlets 13h00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Leinster v Exeter Chiefs 15h15 Aviva Stadium
Racing Metro v Castres 15h15 Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Bath v Toulon 17h30 Recreation Ground
Sun, 17 December 2017
Wasps v La Rochelle 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Clermont Auvergne v Saracens 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Ospreys v Northampton Saints 15h15 Liberty Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Munster 17h30 Welford Road
RESULT SCORE
Mon, 11 December 2017
Saracens v Clermont Auvergne 14 | 46
Sun, 10 December 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Leinster 8 | 18
Harlequins v Ulster 5 | 17
La Rochelle v Wasps 49 | 29
Sat, 09 December 2017
Munster v Leicester Tigers 33 | 10
Castres v Racing Metro 16 | 13
Northampton Saints v Ospreys 32 | 43
Toulon v Bath 24 | 20
Scarlets v Treviso 33 | 28
Fri, 08 December 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier 22 | 29
Sun, 03 December 2017
Harlequins v Saracens 20 | 19
Sat, 02 December 2017
Cheetahs v Scarlets 28 | 21
Munster v Ospreys 36 | 10
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 32 | 25
Treviso v Leinster 10 | 36
SUPER RUGBY
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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28