Tikoirotuma scores four, Chiefs avoid upset

20:12, Jun 02 2012
Blues v Crusaders
Blues No.8 Jerome Kaino attempts to score against the Crusaders.
Blues v Crusaders
Blues centre Rene Ranger on the charge.
Blues v Crusaders
Blues loosehead prop Tom McCartney attempts to charge the kick of Crusaders first five Tyler Bleyendaal.
Blues v Crusaders
Crusaders captain Kieran Read is tackled by Blues fullback Isaia Toeava.
Blues v Crusaders
Blues blindside flanker Chris Lowrey and Blues No.8 Jerome Kaino atempt to score against the Crusaders.
Blues v Crusaders
Blues first five Michael Hobbs is tackled by Crusaders second five Ryan Crotty.
Blues v Crusaders
Blues wing David Raikuna celebrates his try with Blues openside flanker Daniel Braid.
Blues v Crusaders
Blues captain Keven Mealamu in action against the Crusaders.
Blues v Crusaders
Blues replacement Piri Weepu in action against the Crusaders.
Blues v Crusaders
Jerome Kaino attempts to charge the kick of Crusaders halfback Andy Ellis.
David Raikuna
The Blues' David Raikuna is tackled during their second round loss against the Chiefs.
Piri Weepu, Aaron Cruden and Jerome Kaino
Piri Weepu and Jerome Kaino of the Blues chase down Aaron Cruden and the ball.
Isaia Toeava
Isaia Toeava of the Blues makes a break during the round two Super Rugby match between the Chiefs and the Blues.
Piri Weepu
Piri Weepu runs at the Chiefs line after coming on as a second half substitute.
Benson Stanley
Benson Stanley passes to his right, under pressure from Sonny Bill Williams.
Michael Hobbs
Blues first-five Michael Hobbs is hit by Sonny Bill Williams after punting the ball downfield.
Blues v Bulls
Jacques Potgieter of the Bulls is tackled by Benson Stanley and Luke Braid of the Blues.
Blues v Bulls
Alby Mathewson of the Blues in action against the Bulls.
Blues v Bulls
Ali Williams of the Blues and Juandre Kruger of the Bulls.
Blues v Bulls
Ma'a Nonu of the Blues is tackled by Morne Steyn of the Bulls.
Blues v Bulls
Rene Ranger of the Blues is tackled by Akona Ndungane of the Bulls.
Blues v Bulls
Wynand Olivier of the Bulls is tackled by Daniel Braid of the Blues.
BBlues gallery
Andries Bekker of the Stormers charges the Blues' defence.
BBlues gallery
Stormers hooker Tiaan Liebenberg charges the Blues' defence.
BBlues gallery
Blues centre Ma'a Nonu finds a gap against the Stormers.
BBlues gallery
Chris Lowrey of the Blues passes against the Stormers.
BBlues gallery
Stormers flanker Duane Vermeulen wins the lineout dagainst the Blues.
Blues v Hurricanes
Blues lock Ali Williams claims a restart against the Hurricanes.
Blues v Hurricanes
Hurricanes fullback Andre Taylor steps past Blues fullback Lachie Munro as he heads to the try-line.
Blues v Hurricanes
Blues second five eighth Ma'a Nonu dives over to score in the tackle of Hurricanes flanker Jack Lam.
Blues v Hurricanes
Ma'a Nonu of the Blues celebrates with Piri Weepu after scoring a try against the Hurricanes at Eden Park.
Blues v Rebels
Gareth Anscombe of the Blues is hauled in by Rebels defenders during their round seven match.
Blues v Rebels
Ma'a Nonu of the Blues looks to get past James O’Connor of the Rebels.
Blues v Rebels
Ali Williams of the Blues runs with the ball against the Rebels.
Blues v Rebels
Rudi Wulf of the Blues is tackled by Rebels defenders during their round seven match.
Blues v Rebels
James O’Connor of the Rebels celebrates with Mitch Inman after he scored against the Blues.
Blues v Rebels
The Rebels celebrate after they defeated the Blues.
blues gallery
The Blues are disconsolate after conceding a try to the Sharks.
Blues v Sharks
Blues fans show their support for coach Pat Lam.
Blues v Sharks
Michael Hobbs juggles the ball during the Blues loss to the Sharks.
Blues v Sharks
Ma'a Nonu chases JP Pietersen and the ball during the Blues' loss to the Sharks.
Blues v Sharks
Ma'a Nonu and Gareth Anscombe discuss tactics during the Blues' loss to the Sharks.
Blues v Sharks
Blues players celebrate Benson Stanley's try against the Sharks.
Blues v Highlanders
Highlanders player Hosea Gear about to be tackled by Blues players.
Blues v Highlanders
Highlanders' Jarrad Hoeata tackling Blues' George Moala.
Blues v Highlanders
Blues player Tom McCartney lines up the Highlanders' Adam Thomson.
Blues v Highlanders
Rene Ranger of the Blues dives for the tryline against the Highlanders.
Blues v Highlanders
Tom McCartney of the Blues shows his disappointment after their loss to the Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
Blues v Reds
Blues tighthead prop Charlie Faumuina tackled by Reds' Scott Higginbotham.
Blues v Reds
Blues first five Gareth Anscombe tries to escape from Reds centre Digby Ioane.
Blues v Reds
Blues lock Filo Paulo scragged by Reds first five Ben Lucas.
Blues v Reds
Reds centre Digby Ioane runs at Blues second-five Ma'a Nonu.
Hurricanes v Blues
Hurricanes' Karl Lowe on the charge against the Blues.
Hurricanes v Blues
Victor Vito wins the ball over Ma'a Nonu.
Hurricanes v Blues
Cory Jane slips through a Piri Weepu tackle.
Hurricanes v Blues
Blues' Piri Weepu passes against the Hurricanes.
Hurricanes v Blues
Blues centre Ma'a Nonu runs at Lions halfback Ross Cronje.
Hurricanes v Blues
Blues halfback Piri Weepu tries to escape from Lions flanker Grant Hattingh.
Hurricanes v Blues
Blues wing Benson Stanley is tackled by Lions wing Deon Van Rensburg.
Hurricanes v Blues
Blues wing Benson Stanley tries to step Lions fullback Andries Coetzee.
Hurricanes v Blues
Blues second-five Michael Hobbs scores the opening try against the Lions.
Hurricanes v Blues
Referee Angus Gardner issues a yellow card to Deon van Rensburg of the Lions.
Hurricanes v Blues
Blues right wing David Raikuna in action against the Lions.
Hurricanes v Blues
David Raikuna (L) and Ma'a Nonu against the Crusaders at the new AMI Stadium at Rugby League Park in Christchurch.
Hurricanes v Blues
Zac Guildford is tackled by Angus Ta'avao (top) and Steven Luata of the Blues at the new AMI Stadium at Rugby League Park in Christchurch.
Hurricanes v Blues
Robbie Fruean on attack against the Blues at the new AMI Stadium at Rugby League Park in Christchurch.
Hurricanes v Blues
Dan Carter cool under pressure against the Blues at the new AMI Stadium at Rugby League Park in Christchurch.
Blues V Highlanders
Highlanders centre Tamati Ellison is tackled by Blues' second-five Michael Hobbs.
Blues V Highlanders
Blues reserves Piri Weepu, Ma'a Nonu and Ali Williams on the bench against the Highlanders.
Blues V Highlanders
Highlanders left wing Hosea Gear in action against the Blues.
Blues V Highlanders
Blues right wing David Raikuna is scragged by Highlanders halfback Jimmy Cowan.
Blues V Highlanders
Blues tighthead prop Tevita Mailau scores against the Highlanders.
Blues v Chiefs
Rene Ranger sets up the Blues' second try.
Blues v Chiefs
Lachie Munroe scores for the Blues.
Blues v Chiefs
Chiefs and Blues players have a group hug at North Harbour Stadium.
Blues v Chiefs
Blues player Francis Saili is tackled by Chiefs player Sona Taumalolo.
Blues v Force
Francis Saili is tackled by the Force's Nick Cummins.
Blues v Force
Francis Saili fends the Force's Will Tupou.
Blues v Force
Piri Weepu in action against the Force.
Blues v Force
Ma'a Nonu in action against the Force.
Blues v Force
Luke Braid in action against the Force.
Blues v Brumbies
Ma'a Nonu of the Blues is tackled against the Brumbies at Canberra Stadium.
Blues v Brumbies
Alby Mathewson of the Blues kicks the ball against the Brumbies at Canberra Stadium.
Blues v Brumbies
Blues players celebrate after winning their round 18 match against the Brumbies at Canberra Stadium.
Blues v Brumbies
Robbie Coleman of the Brumbies is tackled against the Blues at Canberra Stadium.

Second-last played first-place.

Almost the worst, verses the top dog. Yeah right, the Blues said.

Few predicted the Blues would get this close. It took four tries from Chiefs wing Asaeli Tikoirotuma to deny a massive, monumental upset at North Harbour Stadium tonight.

Chiefs v Highlanders
Sonny Bill Williams jumps above Josh Bekhuis.
Chiefs v Highlanders
Chris Noakes comes in to tackle Fritz Lee.
Chiefs v Highlanders
Sonny Bill Williams on the charge against the Highlanders.
Chiefs v Highlanders
Adam Thomson passes against the Chiefs.
Chiefs v Highlanders
Andrew Hore trys to stop Lelia Masaga as he scores the Chiefs' first try.
Tim Nanai-Williams
Chiefs fullback Tim Nanai-Williams eludes the desperate dive of Blues halfback Alby Mathewson.
Aaron Cruden
Aaron Cruden kicks for goal during the Chiefs round two win over the Blues.
Tawera Kerr-Barlow
Tawera Kerr-Barlow dives over for his try during the Chiefs round two win over the Blues.
Tawera Kerr-Barlow
Tawera Kerr-Barlow dives over for his try during the Chiefs round two win over the Blues.
Piri Weepu, Aaron Cruden and Jerome Kaino
Piri Weepu and Jerome Kaino of the Blues chase down Aaron Cruden and the ball.
Chiefs players celebrate
Chiefs players Andrew Horrell, Sam Cane and Aaron Cruden celebrate their victory over the Blues.
Richard Kahui
Chiefs centre Richard Kahui watches anxiously from the bench in the second half.
Tim Nanai-Williams and Israel Dagg
Chiefs wing Tim Nanai-Williams passes the ball in-field as he is pushed to the ground by Israel Dagg.
George Whitelock and Liam Messam
Crusaders No 6 George Whitelock brings down a kick-off, under pressure from his Chiefs opposite Liam Messam.
Chiefs v Crusaders gallery
Tim Nanai-Williams of the Chiefs picks up a loose ball under pressure from Israel Dagg of the Crusaders.
Chiefs v Crusaders gallery
Tawera Kerr-Barlow of the Chiefs is tackled by Kieran Read of the Crusaders.
Chiefs v Crusaders gallery
Aaron Cruden of the Chiefs gets a kick away while being tackled against the Crusaders at McLean Park.
Chiefs v Crusaders gallery
George Whitelock (L) and Corey Flynn of the Crusaders tackle Robbie Robinson of the Chiefs.
Chiefs v Crusaders gallery
The Chiefs' Arizona Taumalolo celebrates with Brodie Retallick at the end of their match against the Crusaders.
Chiefs v Crusaders gallery
Hika Elliot, Sonny Bill Williams, Zac Guildford, and Israel Dagg ham it up after their match at McLean Park.
Chiefs v Brumbies gallery
A bloody Liam Messam in action against the Brumbies.
Chiefs v Brumbies gallery
Aaron Cruden in action against the Brumbies.
Chiefs v Brumbies gallery
Liam Messam on the charge against the Brumbies.
Chiefs v Brumbies gallery
Richard Kahui on the charge against the Brumbies.
Chiefs v Brumbies gallery
Robbie Robinson passes against the Brumbies.
Chiefs v Brumbies gallery
Sonny Bill Williams could command top dollar to secure a contract after his stint with the Chiefs.
Chiefs v Brumbies gallery
Arizona Taumalolo scores a try against the Waratahs at Waikato Stadium.
Chiefs v Brumbies gallery
Tawera Kerr-Barlow on the charge against the Waratahs at Waikato Stadium.
Chiefs v Brumbies gallery
Chiefs players celebrate after Liam Messam scores against the Waratahs at Waikato Stadium.
Chiefs v Brumbies gallery
Liam Messam scores against the Waratahs at Waikato Stadium.
Chiefs v Brumbies gallery
Tanerau Latimer on the charge against the Waratahs at Waikato Stadium.
Sonny Bill Williams
Sonny Bill Williams charges at the Force defence in Perth.
Lelia Masaga
Chiefs wing Lelia Masaga performs 'The Dougie' after scoring against the Force.
Sona Taumalolo
A tough man to bring down, Sona Taumalolo carries a Force player on his back.
Richard Kahui
Richard Kahui runs clear of Winston Stanley at nib Stadium.
Sonny Bill Williams
Piet van Zyl of the Cheetahs mid flight while playing the Chiefs.
Sonny Bill Williams
Richard Kahui of the Chiefs in action against the Cheetahs.
Sonny Bill Williams
Hennie Daniller of the Cheetahs is tackled by the Chiefs.
Sonny Bill Williams
Craig Clarke, centre, of the Chiefs is tackled by Robert Ebersohn of the Cheetahs.
Chiefs v Sharks
Tawera Kerr-Barlow in action aginst the Sharks at Mr Price Kings Park.
Chiefs v Sharks
Asaeli Tikoirotuma in action aginst the Sharks at Mr Price Kings Park.
Chiefs v Sharks
Tawera Kerr-Barlow in action aginst the Sharks at Mr Price Kings Park.
Chiefs v Sharks
Sonny Bill Williams in action aginst the Sharks at Mr Price Kings Park.
Chiefs v Sharks
Charl Mcleod of the Sharks looks to tackle Alex Bradley at Mr Price Kings Park.
Chiefs v Sharks
Alex Bradley in action aginst the Sharks at Mr Price Kings Park.
Chiefs gallery 2012
Chiefs' players pay tribute to Sir Fred Allen prior to their game against the Hurricanes at Waikato Stadium.
Chiefs gallery 2012
Chiefs' hooker Hika Elliot makes a charge down field.
Chiefs gallery 2012
Chiefs' second-five eighth Sony Bill Williams attempts to offload in the tackle.
Chiefs gallery 2012
Chiefs second five-eighth Sonny Bill Williams is tackled by Lions No8 Joshua Strauss.
Chiefs gallery 2012
Chiefs wing Lelia Masaga is tackled by Lions wing Lionel Mapoe and fullback Andries Coetzee.
Chiefs gallery 2012
Chiefs halfback Brendon Leonard is tackled by Lions No8 Joshua Strauss.
Chiefs gallery 2012
Chiefs prop Ben Tameifuna reacts to the try of captain Craig Clarke.
Chiefs gallery 2012
Chiefs captain Craig Clarke drives over to score.
Chiefs gallery 2012
Chiefs first five-eighth Aaron Cruden avoids the tackles of Lions fullback Andries Coetzee.
Chiefs gallery 2012
Jake Schatz of the Reds is tackled by Chiefs players.
Chiefs gallery 2012
Aaron Cruden of the Cheifs makes a break past Jake Schatz of the Reds.
Chiefs gallery 2012
Richard Kahui of the Chiefs is treated after being injured against the Reds.
Chiefs gallery 2012
Will Genia of the Reds celebrates with team mates after scoring against the Chiefs.
Chiefs gallery 2012
Mike Harris of the Reds passes against the Chiefs.
Chiefs gallery 2012
Jake Schatz of the Reds is tackled against the Chiefs at Suncorp Stadium.
Asaeli Tikoirotuma
Chiefs left wing Asaeli Tikoirotuma dives over for a try against the Bulls.
Sonny Bill Williams
Sonny Bill Williams makes a breakaway in the Chiefs win over the Bulls.
Sam Cane
Sam Cane celebrates his try against the Bulls.
Aaron Cruden
Aaron Cruden in action against the Bulls.
Blues v Chiefs
Chiefs and Blues players have a group hug at North Harbour Stadium.
Blues v Chiefs
Asaeli Tikoirotuma chases the ball.
Blues v Chiefs
Blues player Francis Saili is tackled by Chiefs player Sona Taumalolo.
Blues v Chiefs
Sonny Bill Williams tackles Francis Saili.
Highlanders v Chiefs
Chiefs player Sonny Bill Williams is tackled by Highlanders player Tamati Ellison.
Highlanders v Chiefs
Highlanders players lie gutted on the ground after losing to the Chiefs 21-27.
Highlanders v Chiefs
Highlanders player Hosea Gear about to be tackled by Sonny Bill Williams.
Highlanders v Chiefs
Highlanders player Jarrad Hoeata is tackled.
Chiefs v Crusaders
Richie McCaw comes in to tackle Sona Taumalolo.
Chiefs v Crusaders
Owen Franks tackles Brodie Retallick as he scores his first half try.
Chiefs v Crusaders
Sonny Bill Williams scores his second half try.
Chiefs v Crusaders
Israel Dagg takes a high ball in front of Aaron Cruden.
Chiefs v Crusaders
Sam Cane gets a high ball.
Chiefs v Crusaders
Hika Elliot fends of Israel Dagg.
Hurricanes v Chiefs
Hurricanes' Motu Matu'u celebrates their win over the Chiefs.
Hurricanes v Chiefs
Hurricanes' Julian Savea scores a try against the Chiefs.
Hurricanes v Chiefs
Chiefs' Sonny Bill Williams in action against the Hurricanes.
Hurricanes v Chiefs
Chiefs' Liam Messam in action against the Hurricanes.

Credit must go to the composure and character the Chiefs mustered with six absentees in the face on a relentless challenge, but this match will be remembered for the stunning form reversal of Pat Lam's men.

They have endured a horror season with only two wins. Yet you would have never have guessed those statistics on this evidence.

Heading into a three-week break, the Chiefs will breath a collective sigh of relief. The burning question for the Blues is was this a one-off aberration, or a long-awaited turning point.

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Asaeli Tikoirotuma
TO THE FOUR: Wing Asaeli Tikoirotuma (right) celebrates one of this four tries in the Chiefs' 41-34 victory over the Blues at North Harbour Stadium.

Piri Weepu didn't even get a look in. The Blues didn't want to disrupt their roll.

It's a strange, preposterous scenario when red-and-black supporters get in behind any Auckland-affiliated team. But those in Crusaders territory were rooting for the Blues with Todd Blackadder's men hoping to close in on the Chiefs' pole position.

A whopping 36-points separated them on the table but, with the return of dangerous strike weapons Rene Ranger and Rudi Wulf, there was a feeling the Blues would rise for their neighbourhood rival. They did that and some.

Mahonri Schwalger
CAUGHT: Chiefs hooker Mahonri Schwalger is tackled by Blues wing Lachie Munro during the first half of their Super Rugby match at North Harbour Stadium.

They were crowing south of the Bombay Hills with their record-breaking campaign - and fans flocked north in their droves to bolster a bumper 20,200 crowd - but the Chiefs were reminded nothing is ever a given as the Blues defied logic to push the competition leaders to the brink.

From the moment in-form centre Francis Saili, who limped off the second-spell, skipped out of Aaron Cruden's tackle, the Blues signalled they were a different beast, one that had found their absent confidence and self-belief. Yes, there were even touches of panache and enterprise, from the havoc-causing Ranger and Wulf.

Ranger, in particular, couldn't have made more impact in his comeback match. He scored a stunning solo second-half try that levelled the enthralling slug-feast and gave the Blues a sniff of an unlikely upset. Wulf also celebrated his 50th match with a try.

There were three yellow cards in the heated encounter. Two for almost identical offenses - Blues flanker Steven Luatua and rookie Chiefs wing Maritino Nemani were sin-binned for lifting tackles - which threw this willing contest wide open.

But it was Michael Fitzgerald's second-half moment of madness that put the Chiefs under immense, unnecessary, pressure. The hot-heated lock lashed out with a flurry of punches after taking exception to a minor altercation with Peter Saili. He looks set for a lengthy stint on the sidelines, but, more importantly, Fitzgerald handed the home side a free pass.

Sonny Bill Williams took the midfield honours in his battle with Ma'a Nonu with an impossible show of strength for his third try of the season, but it was Tikoirotuma who stole the show with clinical finishing that defying his green status.

The gutsy bonus-point win sealed the Chiefs' playoffs spot. They will now be looking to secure home advantage and hold off the Crusaders' intense pursuit.

Highlight Reel: With the Blues hot on attack, the Chiefs' length-of-the counter-attacking try which went the length of the field and through six sets of hands was the turning point that sunk a spirited resistance. Michael Fitzgerald's flurry of punches will also see him set for a lengthy stint on the sideline.

Superman: Considering he was playing Heartland Championship last year, Asaeli Tikoirotuma has been a revelation for on the wing for the Chiefs. His epic four-try display was just reward for clinical finishing.

Status Update: The Chiefs remain top of the log and book their spot in the playoffs. The Blues take two well deserved bonus points and regained some much-needed pride.

Chiefs 41 (Asaeli Tikoirotuma 4, Sonny Bill Williams tries, Aaron Cruden pen 2, con 5) Blues 34 (Francis Saili, Lachie Munro, Rudi Wulf, Rene Ranger tries, Munro con 4, pen 2). HT: 20-20

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