23 May 2015

Chiefs come from behind to beat Bulls

6:26 am on 23 May 2015

The Chiefs ended a two-game losing streak and stayed in the hunt for a Super Rugby play-off spot with a 34-20 win over South Africa's Bulls in Rotorua.

Playing without their four first-choice locks, the Chiefs managed to find a way back from conceding two early tries to take maximum points.

Augustine Pulu dives in for a try for the Chiefs.

Augustine Pulu dives in for a try for the Chiefs. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Halfback Augustine Pulu scampered in for two tries in two minutes midway through the second half.

Making a rare start after his return from injury, Pulu darted over in the 53rd minute after fooling the defence with a dummy then strolled over two minutes later after lock Ross Filipo was tackled just short of the line after making a big break.

Liam Messam, Bryce Heem and replacement Tim Nanai-Williams also scored tries for the Chiefs who picked up a vital bonus point to cement their place as second in the New Zealand conference behind the Wellington Hurricanes.

The Bulls scored three tries and led 15-3 early on but were overrun by the Chiefs and missed out on a bonus point. They remain at the top of the South African standings but could be overtaken by either the Stormers or the Lions.

The South Africans made a bright start, scoring the first two tries when Hosea Gear failed to get his boot on the ball and Jan Serfontein dived on it, then Heem gifted a try to Bjorn Basson when he inexplicably batted the ball to him from in-goal.

But the Chiefs regained their composure and tied the scores at halftime when Messam burrowed his way over and Heem crossed out wide.

Pulu's double strike gave the Chiefs plenty of breathing space and although Pieter Labuschagne scored for the Bulls off the back of a driving maul, Nanai-Williams completed the rout with a try on the siren.

The Chiefs are second in the New Zealand Conference and fourth overall, while the Bulls remain top of the South African Conference.

Meanwhile, in Brisbane, the Sharks beat the Queensland Reds 21-14.

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