THE Chiefs will meet either the Stormers or the Sharks in next week’s Super Rugby final after edging past the Crusaders 20-17 in Hamilton.
If the Stormers win they will pack their bags and travel to Cape Town, but if the Sharks prevail, the final will be at Waikato Stadium on Saturday.
“We’re just rapt to still be in the race,” coach Dave Rennie told APNZ.
“It would be great to play here but if we have to go to Africa, we have to go to Africa.”
Dan Carter had the chance to send the match into extra time, but his 45-metre penalty attempt with four minutes remaining failed.
It would have been more than his side deserved however, with their missed-tackle and error count far too high.
At one stage in the first half the Crusaders were on the wrong end of a 10-0 missed tackle count, with Liam Messam and Sonny-Bill Williams taking advantage of the gaps.
There was a fair bit of pushing and shoving throughout in the sometimes spiteful match, with Wyatt Crockett and Kane Thompson swapping punches at the end of the first half and going on report.
“We certainly knew we had to be better in that area,” captain Craig Clarke said.
“We were more confrontational, we couldn’t take a backward step.”
“We missed far too many tackles at critical times and then we came back but couldn’t executive,” coach Todd Blackadder said.
Sona Taumalolo and Liam Messam crossed the white line for the Chiefs, while Aaron Cruden added two penalties and two conversions.
Ryan Crotty nabbed a five-pointer for the red-and-blacks, while Carter kicked four penalties, but crucially missed the important one at the end.
IMAGE: Geoff Trotter via Wikimedia Commons