March 14 (Reuters) - The double defending champion Waikato Chiefs maintained their perfect start to the Super Rugby season after late tries by Tevita Koloamatangi and Tanerau Latimer sealed a 36-20 victory over South Africa’s Stormers in Hamilton on Friday.
James Lowe, Tom Marshall and Tawera Kerr-Barlow scored earlier tries, while All Black flyhalf Aaron Cruden added 11 points for the Chiefs, who have won all three of their games this season and lead the New Zealand conference on 13 points.
Stormers flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis slotted two first half penalties for the visitors before Gio Aplon and Nizaam Carr scored second half tries as the visitors looked to stage a remarkable comeback.
Replacement flyhalf Peter Grant converted both tries for the visitors, who had battled back from 24-6 down to 24-20 with five minutes remaining before Koloamatangi’s late effort sealed the win and the bonus point.
Latimer, playing his 100th Super rugby match, then scored his try from a rolling maul as the final hooter sounded.
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Patrick Johnston