Super Rugby Final: Waikato Chiefs Fight Back to Sink ACT Brumbies

Alex LivieFeatured ColumnistAugust 3, 2013

HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 03:  Robbie Robinson of the Chiefs dives over to score during a Super Rugby Final match between the Chiefs and the Brumbies at Waikato Stadium on August 3, 2013 in Hamilton, New Zealand.  (Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)
Hannah Johnston/Getty Images

The Waikato Chiefs produced a brilliant late fightback to defeat the ACT Brumbies 27-22 to secure back-to-back Super Rugby titles.

For large spells of the match, the Chiefs were on the back foot and trailed 22-12 at one stage. 

Aaron Cruden missed a string of kicks, but he nailed the telling conversion to put the Chiefs ahead with 10 minutes remaining and they held on to secure victory in front of their own fans in Hamilton.

The Brumbies, who earlier this year famously became the first provincial side to beat the British and Irish Lions since 1997, took the game to the Chiefs and Christian Leali'ifano nailed a hat-trick of penalties to put them in control.

Cruden, who was wayward at times with his kicking, did nail three penalties of his own to draw the Chiefs level, but Wallabies star Leali'ifano intercepted a pass on the stroke of half-time and scooted away for the first try of the match.

Leali'ifano converted the try and added two further penalties early in the second half to move the Brumbies into a commanding 10-point lead.

Roared on by the home crowd in the Waikato Stadium, the Chiefs came on strong in the final 15 minutes and Liam Messam snaked through for a try.

Cruden missed the conversion, but Robbie Robinson broke through the line for a try to level the scores with 11 minutes remaining.

On this occasion, Cruden held his nerve to put the Chiefs in front and he added a penalty minutes later to seal the title.