Chiefs winger Sean Wainui has made history, producing the first five-try haul in a Super Rugby match.
Through 25 years of the ever-changing Super Rugby landscape, nobody had dotted down five times in a match, until Wainui accomplished the feat in the Chiefs' 40-7 victory over the Waratahs.
Tries in the second and 15th minutes were followed by further efforts in the 45th and 51st, before a try after the fulltime hooter had sounded gave him the record, and the Chiefs cause for celebration.
The Chiefs were eliminated from contention for the inaugural transtasman final before kick-off, forcing the Waikato-based franchise to search within themselves and find the necessary motivation to overcome a wounded Waratahs outfit.
But while the match counted for nothing towards the competition, it delivered on entertainment value, to gloss over an ill-disciplined performance at Brookvale Oval in Manly.
Early on, the Super Rugby Aotearoa finalists did their best to resemble their performance from their last trip across the ditch to face the Waratahs, which ended in a 51-14 hammering in Wollongong in early 2020.
In this clash, they played with a sound mixture of ambition and devotion, but with every silky play, there was agonising clumsiness from the visitors. The Chiefs will be thankful they weren't punished more so with missed tackles and a number of cheap defensive plays crippling their resilience, particularly in the first half.
Despite a host of opportunities offered up to the Waratahs, they lacked the clinical nature of the Chiefs attack to convert chances into points, which ultimately separated the two teams.
The visitors' first try came just 57 seconds into the contest, when Wainui, courtesy of a gorgeous set-play off a lineout, crossed for his first of the night. The Chiefs attack continued to build and while it often came to nothing, when they did spread the ball, there was little the Waratahs could do.
After Wainui dotted down for his second, a third for the Chiefs looked on the cards when loose forward Luke Jacobson peeled off the back of a scrum deep in their own half and teared through the middle of the field, only for the play to be ruined by a sloppy pass from skipper Brad Weber.
The writing of an onslaught was on the wall heading into the match as the Waratahs through their first four transtasman games had given up 34 tries – a whopping average of 8.5 per contest.
But as they have done for much of the competition, the Waratahs showed some ticker with ball in hand. They dominated the possession battle with 60 per cent of the ball in the first half, and made their lone breakthrough five minutes out through promising outside back Mark Nawaqanitawase to make it a one-score contest.
In what felt like a preview to a Wallabies centre in the waiting, Waratahs star Izaia Perese was an early force with powerful runs, but added to their injury woes when he dislocated his shoulder, and was taken from the field after 12 minutes.
The second half started in more encouraging fashion for the Chiefs as they picked up their presence on defence and at the breakdown, with Wainui bagging his third and fourth tries to push the lead out to 28-7 shortly after the break.
Referees were again in the spotlight with a controversial yellow card handed to Chiefs lock Tupou Vaa'i for what appeared nothing more than an accidental head clash on Will Harrison. Four minutes out from fulltime Waratahs loose forward Lachlan Swinton became the third player to be carded when he was sent off for a direct shoulder to the head of Jacobson.
The Chiefs resisted small nips at their tryline from the Waratahs, and responded by scoring through Viliami Taulani, before Wainui claimed his fantastic fifth to go into the record books.
Chiefs 40 (Sean Wainui 5, Viliami Taulani tries; Bryn Gatland 4 cons, Kaleb Trask con)
Waratahs 7 (Mark Nawaqanitawase try; Will Harrison con)