The Chiefs jumped to the top of the Super Rugby table with a bonus-point 34-22 win over the Hurricanes in Hamilton on Friday.
- June 28, 2013 – 7:58PM
The four-tries-to-three win means the defending champions leapfrog the Brumbies to top the overall table by 61 points to 59 with a game in hand, as the Australian teams take a two-week break for the British and Irish Lions tour.
The Chiefs had an indifferent first half, but the Hurricanes also mixed good with bad in equal measure.
They scored two well-taken tries through TJ Perenara and Beauden Barrett and looked dangerous with the ball in hand, making plenty of breaks and kicking intelligently.
But they also conceded too many turnovers, with the Chiefs more effective at the breakdown.
Perenara’s try gave the Hurricanes the lead after 15 minutes, the nuggety halfback burrowing over after Jeremy Thrush did some good work in recycling Barrett’s raking cross-field kick.
It didn’t take the Chiefs long to reply, No.8 Matt Vant Leven latching on to a poor Hurricanes defensive lineout throw four minutes later to swoop through for the try.
Inside centre Bundee Aki extended the Chiefs’ lead at 26 minutes in a nicely worked move from the set piece, showing good pace in running onto Aaron Cruden’s perfectly weighted kick through.
But Barrett narrowed the gap on 30 minutes, making the initial break then showing good strength out wide to touch down after a quick Hurricanes recycle, leaving the Chiefs to take a 17-15 lead into halftime.
The Chiefs scrum started to gain ascendancy as the second half wore on, but had only a Cruden penalty to show for it until the 63rd minute.
With his line under pressure, Barrett couldn’t find touch with his clearing kick from a 10m scrum and Lelia Masaga made him pay with with a scything run which set up halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow for the try.
Replacement prop Ben Tameifuna powered over for the bonus-point try with five minutes remaining, although the Hurricanes replied almost immediately through Alapati Leiua as the Chiefs’ usually organised defence slipped up.
CHIEFS 34 (Bundee Aki, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Ben Tameifuna, Matt Vant Leven tries Aaron Cruden 4 cons 2 pens) bt HURRICANES 22 (Beauden Barrett, Alapati Leiua, TJ Perenara tries Barrett 2 cons pen) at Waikato Stadium. Referee: Garratt Williamson.