The Chiefs continued their dominance of the New Zealand conference as they scraped to a 17-12 win over the Hurricanes in Wellington on Friday.
This was despite the defending champions being down to 14 men for the last 10 minutes, and the home side dominating both territory and possession for most of the match, with the Chiefs defence standing firm in wet conditions.
The Hurricanes will kick themselves with the amount of ball they had, that they didn’t manage to cross the whitewash once, and had to settle for a losing bonus point in the process.
But with rain bucketing down, and the underfoot slippery, the game never really got going, with mistakes aplenty from both teams on the park.
The Hurricanes seemed content to try and play for territory, and for a while it really worked.
Early on the game really only came down to penalties from Beauden Barrett and his opposite number Aaron Cruden, with Cruden just shading the clash as the Chiefs went into the break 12-9 up.
But it was one moment in the second half that settled the game, as halfback TJ Perenara’s kick was charged down for the second time in the match, only this time Tawera Kerr-Barlow snapped up the loose ball and surged to five metres from the line before popping it up to Tanerau Latimer who went over to score.
It was a telling blow because despite less ball, the Chiefs were suddenly more than a penalty ahead and the Canes were forced to play more.
And they did make some inroads, although every time they came close, the Chiefs stopped their momentum or they simply coughed up the ball through one mistake too many.
The closest they came was being held up over the line, when Ben Tameifuna was yellow carded as he ripped the ball away while on the deck.
But strangely, even though they had momentum, the Canes opted for the kick at posts, rather than look to take a lineout or redo the scrum.
And in settling for the three, they never got the momentum back to have another go, as the Chiefs' defence, even though they were one down, easily held out for the victory
Hurricanes – Penalties: Beauden Barrett (4).
Chiefs – Try: Tanerau Dylan Latimer. Penalties: Aaron Cruden (4).