Rugby: Chiefs too good for Hurricanes

By Steven Holloway

Sonny Bill Williams of the Chiefs is tackled by Victor Vito of the Hurricanes during the round 10 Super Rugby match between the Chiefs and the Hurricanes at Waikato Stadium. Photo / Getty Images.
Sonny Bill Williams of the Chiefs is tackled by Victor Vito of the Hurricanes during the round 10 Super Rugby match between the Chiefs and the Hurricanes at Waikato Stadium. Photo / Getty Images.

Chiefs 33
Hurricanes 14

The Chiefs confirmed their billing as the hottest rugby show in town with a thrilling 33-14 win over the Hurricanes in front of 22,190 screaming fans at Waikato Stadium.

Riding a wave of success which has now delivered eight successive Super 15 victories, the Chiefs produced another sizzling display of running rugby in a fast-paced, pulsating contest.

It confirmed the Chiefs' status as leaders of the New Zealand Conference and overall points tables, and also extended their leading try tally in the competition to 31 after dotting down three times.

The Hurricanes, while beaten, played their part in an end to end contest, and battled hard to be only trailing by five points with 20 minutes to go.

But they were untidy at key moments when they were within striking distance, and have now drifted further from playoff contention.

The Chiefs - returning from a tough tour of South Africa - did not train until Wednesday this week in a bid to freshen up and the ploy worked. Their performance was full of energy and intensity and they made a mockery of the tough long-haul flight home by finishing strongly and dishing up quality rugby.

Aaron Cruden won the first-five battle against Beauden Barrett with another influential and composed performance to race ahead as New Zealand's top points scorer in the competition.

With four penalties and three conversions against his old side, he adding 18 points, taking his overall tally for the season to 126.

But while the boot dominated the first half with Cruden and Barrett converting early penalties, the match will be remembered more for some spirited running and slick passing which led to three tries and several near misses.

Sona Taumololo and Andre Taylor both scored their seventh tries of the season for their respective teams, to share the top spot in Super Rugby try scoring honors.

It was the boot that dominated the first half with Cruden and Barrett at the centre of the action.

Cruden kicked the Chiefs off to a six-point lead with two early penalties before Barrett replied with one of his own for the Hurricanes inside the opening 20 minutes.

In a scrappy opening dominated by powerful Chiefs running, the Hurricanes defense struggled to cope and was further punished by two resulting Cruden penalties, stretching the home sides lead to nine.

Both teams engaged in a territory battle throughout the first half as long range kicking dominated the early stages.

Andre Taylor silenced the home crowd five minutes before the break, finishing off a sweeping cross field move with some elusive running to touch down in the corner.

The Chiefs struck the first blow in the second half from a set play when Lelia Masaga skipped past TJ Perenara to dot down, with Cruden adding the easy extras.

Barrett reduced the gap to five points with two penalties soon after and set up an exciting 20 minutes.

But it was Taumololo who made the points safe for the Chiefs, with a trademark surge over the line from close quarters.

Toby Smith added the icing on the cake with a late try to cap off a great night for the homeside.

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