4 Aug 2013

Chiefs win Super Rugby Grand Final

6:11 am on 4 August 2013

The Chiefs have won back-to-back Super Rugby titles after clawing back a late ten-point deficit to beat the Brumbies 27-22 in Hamilton.

The Brumbies looked in control for the first 60 minutes of the match, but ultimately faded late in the game at the hands of the Chiefs' expansive attack.

The home side were 10 points down and needing to score twice when blindside flanker Liam Messam stormed over from a five-metre scrum to make it a five point ball game heading into the last 15 minutes.

The tiring Brumbies, who have played in four time zones in four weeks, then surrendered the lead they'd held for the entire match when replacement Robbie Robinson burst through their defence to level the scores with a converted try in the 67th minute.

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie was almost left wondering what could have been following his decision to use flyhalf Aaron Cruden as goal-kicker ahead of renowned sharpshooter Gareth Anscombe.

While Brumbies kicker Christian Lealiifano had an unblemished night with five penalties, a conversion and a try, Cruden missed three kickable shots.

After several close intercept attempts, Lealiifano showed great handling skills to thieve a long pass from Chiefs halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow to race away for the opening try.

But the Chiefs managed to overturn the deficit late to become the fourth team to win consecutive Super Rugby titles.