11 Jun 2011

Chiefs and Canes draw in Hamilton

11:42 am on 11 June 2011

The race to avoid the New Zealand conference wooden spoon is still well and truly alive after Andrew Hore and Ma'a Nonu, who will both be cut loose by the Hurricanes at the end of the season, made important contributions in their 18-18 draw against the Chiefs in their Super Rugby clash in Hamilton on Friday night.

The All Blacks stalwarts were told earlier in the week they would not be offered new contracts in an act of bloodletting rarely seen at New Zealand's Super Rugby franchises.

Captain Hore scored his side's only points in the first half with a try, while Nonu's break early in the second set up Hosea Gear's try that brought the visitors back into the match.

Tighthead prop Neemia Tialata, who is also leaving the Hurricanes at the end of the year to join Bayonne in France, made his 100th Super rugby appearance for the team.

The Hurricanes dominated the first half but the slippery conditions and their failure to control the greasy ball led to the Chiefs scoring tries at either end of the spell.

Richard Kahui was first to the loose ball in the opening two minutes after an Aaron Cruden kick was charged down, while Isaac Ross scored in the 38th minute following an attacking scrum.

The Hurricanes got back into the game immediately after the break when Nonu made one of his characteristic line breaks to set up Gear's try while Cruden converted and added a penalty three minutes later to tie the score 15-15.

Stephen Donald, who had slotted a first-half conversion and penalty, added his second penalty before Cruden tied it up again at 18-18 with just under 12 minutes remaining.

Donald attempted a 35-metre drop goal after his side had held the ball for more than 20 phases and two minutes after the final hooter sounded, but it was partially charged and the Hurricanes kicked it into touch to end the match.

The Hurricanes now lie second to bottom in the New Zealand conference on 41 points with the Chiefs dead last on 40.