The Chiefs have consolidated their position at the top of the Super Rugby ladder after hanging on for a 28-27 win over the Hurricanes in a see-sawing battle in Wellington.
Centre Seta Tamanivalu scored two of the visitors’ four tries, while outstanding young fullback Damian McKenzie augmented another strong all-round performance by landing all four conversions.
The Hurricanes touched down four times as well, but in the swirling conditions five-eighth Beauden Barrett missed five of his seven shots at goal.
When Barrett got his side’s fourth try after the Hurricanes’ scrum dominance secured a tight head, fullback Jason Woodward took over the kicking duties and his conversion made it a one-point game with 10 minutes to go.
The home side continued to press and had a great chance to snatch a win in the final seconds, but Woodward couldn’t hold on to a Barrett pass with the line open.
Both teams had come into the contest on Saturday night on a run of five successive wins.
The Hurricanes were on the board after three minutes, with winger Cory Jane finishing off a scrum move.
It didn’t take long for the Chiefs to hit back and Tamanivalu touched down off a powerful run.
The outside centre completed his brace with an acrobatic finish in the corner after a Chiefs break-out from inside their own 22.
The Hurricanes struck back with hooker Dane Coles barging over from close range.
Barrett added the extras to nudge the Hurricanes ahead 15-14, but then missed the chance to open out the gap with a penalty from close range right on halftime.
When the teams came back out, the Chiefs regained the lead after an energy-sapping passage of play.
From the second-half kick-off, there was attack and counter-attack, and no stoppage for more than four minutes, before No.8 Michael Leitch crashed over under the crossbar.
Again, the Hurricanes replied, this time with skipper Coles twice involved and his offload found unmarked halfback TJ Perenara.
But the Chiefs pulled further ahead when substitute flanker Taleni Seu touched down before Barrett’s try set up a nail-biting finish.