The Chiefs have kept their Super Rugby season alive with a gutsy 29-23 victory over the Sharks in Hamilton.
The hosts were made to work for everything they got all night, forced to defend their line from the outset against a fierce attacking Sharks side, who were fresh off a draw with the back-to-back champion Crusaders.
The Chiefs took an early lead through the boot of Marty McKenzie.
Captain Brad Weber scored the first try of the match after an Atu Moli break to set up the attack – McKenzie converted the try to take a 10-0 lead.
A Curwin Bosch penalty closed the gap to seven, before he tied the game up one minute later after a Lunga Ncube try.
The hosts went down the other end a few moments later where a Mitch Karpik try took the lead for the Chiefs.
Bosch kicked a penalty just before half time to take the score to 17-13 at the break.
Ruan Botha scored the opening try of the half for the Sharks to take the lead to 20-17 before Bosch kicked a penalty to take the lead to six points with 17 to go.
Chiefs’ in-form midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown scored for the home side with just 12 minutes to go to cash in on a period of sustained pressure.
The try got the crowd back into the match and they were given something else to cheer about just two minutes later, as Solomon Alaimalo set up the outstanding Weber for his second score of the night to edge the Chiefs back in front.
The Sharks got the ball back with just seconds left on the clock and tried to mount one more attack to win the game.
Bosch - who was the best player on the park for the visitors – broke the defensive line and looked to be on his way to score, until Tyler Ardron made a last-ditch tackle that may have saved the season for the Chiefs.
The hosts defended 18 phases before an error came from the Sharks, sealing the win for the Chiefs leaving them just one point outside the playoffs with five rounds left.