Chiefs hold on for super win over Drua

The Chiefs held on to a rapidly shrinking lead to beat Fijian Drua 35-24 in a thrilling game that saw them clinch a quarter-final at home in Super Rugby Pacific.

The final game of Drua’s inaugural Super Rugby season was played to a packed house at Churchill Park in Lautoka, Fiji’s second city. Every inch of the field was filled and spectators occupied every tree or other vantage point overlooking the ground to see what turned out to be one of the most compelling games of the season.

The Chiefs were leading 35-13 with just 14 minutes to go and they must have felt the job had been done in hot, humid and sapping conditions.

The Drua launched an extraordinary comeback, scoring three tries in the final 10 minutes to make the match a thriller. The hosts attacked from everywhere and the tired Chiefs barely managed to hold on to the vital points they needed to secure a place in the top four teams.

“I thought we played our one and only get out of jail card against the Rebels a few weeks ago, but it turns out we have two,” Chiefs captain Brad Weber said.

“We just feel a sense of relief more than anything.

“Man, hats off to Drua. Those last 10 or 15 minutes, they were just amazing. I haven’t seen a try scored like that in my entire career. It’s just incredibly lucky to be able to win.”

Weber created a try for winger Emoni Narawa as the Chiefs led 21-7 at halftime. Prop Angus Ta’avao and five-eighth Bryn Gatland scored tries in the opening 20 minutes and Weber’s touchdown just before the break gave the Chiefs a comfortable advantage.

The Chiefs went further with a second try against Fiji-born Narawa and appeared to have the game under control when they were awarded a penalty try in a 66th-minute scramble to take the 22-point lead .

Yelled by the crowd, the Drua refused to be disowned. They fought back first with a magnificent counterattack try from Kalaveti Ravouvou and added Apisalome Vota five minutes later.

The stadium erupted when substitute prop Timoci Sauvoli scored under the posts with a minute on the clock and the conversion reduced the Chiefs’ lead to just one point.

The Drua got one last possession but the match ended before they could turn their rally into a game winner.

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