In one of the most hyped encounters of the season, the Chiefs travelled to the capital on Friday night, knowing they’d need victory to seal top spot on the Super XV table, and knowing equally as well that the Hurricanes, playing for survival in the competition, would be a tough proposition.
Unfortunately, while the game started at pace, it failed to live up to expectations, with both sides trying just a little too hard. Tawera Kerr-Barlow crossed early for the visitors, the first act in what was a dazzling display from the up-and-coming number 9, but a brace from All Black winger Julian Savea soon had the ‘Canes out to a 15-7 lead.
In an error-laden second-spell the Chiefs led 25-21 for the last fifteen minutes, until Dane Coles was awarded a dubious try on the buzzer, allowing the Hurricanes to snatch the points and give themselves a sniff of a playoff spot.
It wasn’t the best of results for New Zealand rugby as a whole. The loss left the Chiefs susceptible at the top of the table (as the games played out the Stormers ended up stealing the Number One qualifying position), while the Hurricanes’ failure to secure a bonus point made their chances of sitting inside the top 6 come the end of the round unlikely, (the ‘Canes missed out, eventually finishing 8th).