Saturday night at Rugby Park in Hamilton was a chance for both the Chiefs and the Hurricanes to prove they are genuine title contenders this year, and the Waikato side did just that.
The first half saw both sides jostling for position, and it looked as though Aaron Cruden’s 4 penalty goals would see the Chiefs enter the sheds with a handy lead. However, outstanding ‘Canes fullback Andre Taylor crossed just before the break to close the scoreline to 12-8.
The home side was first out of the starter’s blocks in the second stanza, Lelia Masaga opening their account with a soft try under the posts. Hurricanes five-eighth Beaudon Barrett kept the visitors in contention with two more penalty goals, before try-scoring phenomenon Sona Taumalolo barged over for yet another try.
Toby Smith added another for the Chiefs before the final whistle, extending the home side’s advantage to 33-14.
For the Chiefs it was a well-rounded performance, combining the x-factor of their exciting backline with a forward pack that looks increasingly willing to grind out victories. But all is not lost for the Hurricanes either, who, while sitting 4th in the New Zealand conference, are still playing good rugby and look cohesive as a unit.