23 Feb 2013

Chiefs start title winning defence in style

9:19 am on 23 February 2013

The Chiefs began their Super Rugby title defence in winning fashion last night when they outlasted the Highlanders 41-27 in a see-sawing match in Dunedin.

The visitors also left with a bonus point, two of their four tries coming via the twinkle toes of novice centre Tim Nanai-Williams.

Usually a winger or fullback, Nanai-Williams was inserted into the midfield as an injury replacement and he showed pace and a goosestep to produce two solo, long-range touchdowns.

Fullback Gareth Anscombe, off-loaded by the Blues last season, added 21 points from the boot, including two late penalties that pushed the Chiefs clear.

The Highlanders were still well in contention going into final quarter when down 28-27.

But Nanai-Williams' second try with 12 minutes to go finally swung the contest the Chiefs' way.

The Highlanders were without skipper Andrew Hore, still serving a suspension from the end-of-year All Blacks tour, and former Test lock Brad Thorn, out with a calf strain.

Across the Tasman the ACT Brumbies beat the Melbourne Rebels with a clinical 30-13 win in Melbourne.

And in South Africa theBulls have beaten the Stormers 25-17 in Pretoria.