Waikato replacement winger Anthony Tahana scored the second of his two tries in the dying minutes to give his side a 30-20 victory over the Vodacom Stormers in a scrappy Super 14 match in Tauranga on Saturday.
Tahana regathered Stephen Donald’s cross kick to dot down with less than two minutes remaining while flyhalf Donald carved out huge chunks of territory with a better directed tactical game to lift his side’s performance in the second half.
Donald, who missed an easy conversion in last week’s draw against the Bulls, slotted all three penalties and converted both of Tahana’s tries in the second spell to overturn a 14-7 deficit and give his side the victory in a woeful, niggly match littered with errors and poor decision making.
Openside flanker Nili Latu also scored a try for the home side, which Donald converted, while Vodacom Stormers centre Jean De Villiers and full back Tonderai Chavhanga scored tries for the South African side.
Naas Olivier added two conversions and a penalty. Replacement flyhalf Peter Grant added a second-half penalty for the Vodacom Stormers but also missed an easy penalty that could have tied the scores at 23-23 with 10 minutes remaining.
“We felt like we got in behind them and used the ball a bit better in the second half,” said Waikato captain Jono Gibbes.
“Maybe in the first half we were guilty of throwing it away and putting ourselves under pressure but we got there in the end.”
Waikato, missing the barnstorming impetus of the injured All Black loose forward Sione Laukai, were far too lateral throughout and failed to gain any real forward momentum.
The Chiefs also wasted numerous opportunities from hard running centre Niva Ta’auso’s line breaks with poor option taking, a lack of vision and handling errors compounding their problems.
“It’s a bit frustrating because we didn’t really play the way we wanted too,” Gibbes added.
“I think it felt like who wanted to lose it the most out there, But we dug deep and got it. It’s a hard-earned four points for us.”