The Chiefs proved why they’re this year’s Super Rugby pacesetters on Saturday, blowing away Australian conference leaders the Brumbies 48-23 in entertaining fashion.
The free-running New Zealand side, led by skilful fullback Damian McKenzie, made light work of the competition’s best defensive team, banking a bonus point by scoring six tries to two in front of 13,300 fans at GIO Stadium.
It was their first win in Canberra since 2008 and fourth straight on the road after six rounds.
The Chiefs’ backline was brilliant, with James Lowe scoring his first career double, fellow winger Toni Pulu, halfback Brad Weber and McKenzie all crossing for five-pointers while five-eighth Aaron Cruden and inside centre Charlie Ngatai were also superb.
McKenzie collected 23 points to add to his competition-high tally.
The Brumbies are known for the damaging work at the breakdown, and while David Pocock was influential it was the Chiefs who gave the masterclass, winning 14 turnovers.
Both teams spent most of March on the road, and while the Brumbies were sloppy in stages, the Chiefs hardly showed signs of fatigue in a fast and furious opening half.
The Chiefs went into the break up 20-13, but only moments earlier were trailing 13-12.
The Brumbies enjoyed a majority of early possession but struggled in their execution and had just two penalty goals to show for it.
They gave up their lead to the visitors via a pair of entertaining tries to Pulu and Lowe, but clawed their way back with a converted try to prop Scott Sio in the 35th minute.
A penalty from the restart, though, proved costly – conceding a goal and late try to flanker Tom Sanders.
Momentum continued the way of the Chiefs in the second half, with three early penalties followed by three tries to Lowe, Weber and McKenzie.
Scott Fardy scored the hosts’ sole five-pointer in the second term.
The Brumbies have a well-earned bye next week while the Chiefs hosts the Blues on Friday.