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Chiefs win tight contest and will play Crusaders

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    23 Jul 2017     Getty Images

Scoring a try apiece, the Chiefs had the superior goal-kicker in fullback Damian McKenzie, who landed four penalty goals, to go with Shaun Stevenson's late try, to thank for the win which will see the Chiefs meet the Crusaders in Christchurch in next weekend's semifinal.

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The result repeated the Chiefs win over the Stormers last year but it was a vastly different encounter with a much tighter contest than the 60 points the New Zealanders posted last year.

The home side had their chances but their failure to score more than three points after captain and flanker Sam Cane was sin-binned at the start of the final quarter proved costly.

Stormers captain Siya Kilisi made an early impact with a strong tackle on Chiefs' lock Brodie Retallick that resulted in a knock-on to relieve some early pressure on the home side.

First five-eighths Damian Williemse then made a searching run only to attempt a back-of-the-hand flick which was ruled a forward pass and that allowed the Chiefs to clear.

The Stormers muffed early chances with a penalty kick not finding touch and then throwing too long at one of their lineouts.

But the Chiefs also missed an early chance to build pressure when the ball was knocked on and SP Marais put in a long kick which forced wing James Lowe to clear the ball to just outside the Chiefs' 22m area.



In the 22nd minute Retallick was penalised for jumping across the line and Marais landed the penalty goal.

Seven minutes later fullback Damian McKenzie was given a chance when the Stormers scrum was on the receiving end of some Chiefs power and he levelled the scores.

Second five-eighths Stephen Donald attacked from the re-start and broke the Stormers' defence but in attempting to pass wide to flanker Liam Messam the ball went into touch.

But Willemse infringed by not releasing the ball in the tackle and McKenzie landed another penalty goal.

The Chiefs were quickly back into Stormers' territory and when Elstadt failed to release after making a tackle first five-eighths Aaron Cruden kicked to the corner for the Chiefs to launch more attacks at the line and while the Stormers' defence held, second five-eighths Damian de Allende conceded a penalty, and were given a red zone warning, before McKenzie landed his third penalty goal.

Making a good start to the second half, the Stormers gave the Chiefs a taste of 22m area pressure and after Marais kicked to the corner for a lineout, the Stormers mounted a wave of phases before halfback Dewaldt Duvenhage ran the blind, got a pass to centre EW Viljoen who gave Kolisi the perfect offload for a try.

But a knock-on from the re-start by the Stormers allowed the Chiefs a scrum on the 22m line and in the resulting play the Stormers got off-side to allow McKenzie to goal again, in the 51st minute.

Handling mistakes by the Stormers turned over possession but in the 59th minute Cane was sin-binned after his shoulder caught wing Dillyn Leyds in the head in a tackle. The decision was controversial as it seemed to be an accidental contact and referee Jaco Peyper felt it was worth a penalty, but TMO Johan Greeff suggested a sin-binning was required.

And soon after Marais reduced the margin to one point with his second penalty goal. But in the 71st minute he missed a shot which slid across the front of the posts.

The Chiefs got into the Stormers' half and in the 75th minute Cruden created a chance for replacement back Shaun Stevenson to score in the right hand corner when he received a long pass in space to cross without a defender touching him.

Scorers: Stormers 11 (Siya Kolisi try; SP Marais 2 pen) Chiefs 17 (Shaun Stevenson try; Damian McKenzie 4 pen). HT: 3-9