Chiefs bring Sharks’ un­beaten run to an end

Townsville Bulletin - - Bizfi Nd -

WAIKATO ended the Sharks’ un­beaten start to the Su­per Rugby sea­son with a 15-9 vic­tory in a rain-soaked match last night that was de­cided on penal­ties.

Fly­half Mike De­lany re­placed Waikato team­mate Andrew Don­ald, who was taken to hos­pi­tal with a back in­jury, and kicked four penal­ties from five at­tempts to steer his side to a nar­row win.

The Dur­ban-based Sharks won their first four matches, post­ing their first-ever back-to-back wins in Aus­tralia but failed to im­prove on a 40 per cent win­ning record in New Zealand de­spite lead­ing 6-3 at half­time.

For most of the match the cham­pi­onshiplead­ing Sharks looked the bet­ter team but were un­able to take ad­van­tage of a steady stream of Chiefs’ er­rors.

Though they also de­fended su­perbly, De­lany’s goal­kick­ing con­signed them to de­feat.

‘‘ It was an im­por­tant win for us and very gutsy. The con­di­tions weren’t too good but the boys gutsed that one out,’’ Chiefs cap­tain Liam Mes­sam said. ‘‘ It wasn’t the pret­ti­est of rugby but we came away with the win.’’

The Chiefs paid a heavy price for their win, los­ing Don­ald to a back in­jury dur­ing the first half

The se­ri­ous­ness of the in­jury was not im­me­di­ately clear but the fly­half – re­cent un­der­study to All Blacks star Daniel Carter – was taken to hos­pi­tal for ex­am­i­na­tion.

Prop Ben May suf­fered a se­ri­ous calf strain and re­place­ment lock Ro­mana Graham an ap­par­ent con­cus­sion, adding to Waikato’s al­ready heavy in­jury toll ahead of next week’s match against the Auck­land Blues.

Sharks fly­half Pa­trick Lam­bie, who en­tered the match as the tour­na­ment’s lead­ing pointscorer this sea­son with 65 points, added to that tally with two first half penal­ties. He slot­ted goals in the fourth and 27th min­utes while full­back Tim Nanai-Wil­liams kicked a goal while Don­ald was re­ceiv­ing treat­ment.

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